Leading jockey jailed for drunken assault on female flight attendant

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The Independent Online
A leading jockey was jailed for six months yesterday for indecently assaulting a female flight attendant and urinating against a door while drunk on board a long haul flight.</p>Timmy Murphy, 27, who won last year's Irish Grand National and came second in the Grand National at Aintree, near Liverpool, pleaded guilty to the two offences when he appeared at Isleworth Crown Court in west London.</p>Murphy, from Faringdon, Oxfordshire, who has a partner and young child, was jailed for six months for groping an attendant on a Virgin flight from Tokyo to Heathrow on 14 April and three months for being drunk on the aircraft. The sentences will run concurrently.</p>Judge John Crocker also ordered the jump jockey to remain on the sex offenders' register for five years.</p>Murphy had been drinking heavily in the Virgin Club lounge before boarding flight BS901 and continued to drink vodka and orange in the first-class cabin, the court was told.</p>Simon Connolly, for the prosecution, said that Murphy had called one of the female attendants, who was concerned by his aggressive behaviour, a "f****** whinger".</p>Mr Connolly said the jockey later sat on a passenger's lap with his legs blocking the aisle. When the attendant asked him to move, he grabbed her leg and put his hand up her skirt. The attendant was left "extremely shocked and in tears over what had happened", Mr Connolly said.</p>Murphy was later seen urinating against the flight-deck door before falling asleep for the rest of the flight. He was arrested at Heathrow but told officers that he could not remember what had happened.</p>The court was told that Murphy had two previous drink-driving convictions. After Murphy's arrest he spent five weeks at a Priory rehabilitation clinic and now attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.</p>Robin Leach, for the defence, told the court that Murphy had a "drink problem that goes back a number of years". Michael Caulfield, chief executive of The Jockeys Association, said a number of riders turned to drink to escape the stress and dangers of their sport. He told the court: "It's a very stressful lifestyle ... It's the most intense of all professional sports."</p>Mark Pitman, a trainer, described Murphy as "an exceptional talent".</p>Sentencing Murphy, Judge Crocker said: "It's a tragedy to see a successful man from any profession standing in the dock of a Crown Court. It seems clear to me that you must have known you had a problem with drink.</p>"I accept totally that there are great pressures on jump jockeys but there is also great pressures on cabin staff on long-distance flights."</p>