The supermodel Naomi Campbell has been sentenced to 200 hours – five working weeks – of community service for kicking and spitting at police officers after going "berserk" on a plane.
A packed Uxbridge magistrates court heard the notoriously choleric model plead guilty yesterday to assaulting two constables. She also admitted screaming abuse at a British Airways captain, but said little else.
Campbell's punishment will include anything from clearing church yards of rubbish to repairing park benches and playground equipment. The task will no doubt be familiar: last March she spent five days mopping floors and scrubbing lavatories in New York's sanitation department after hitting her maid on the head with a mobile phone. She pleased the paparazzi by wearing a different designer costume every morning.
Campbell, 38, was planning to fly from Heathrow to Los Angeles on 3 April when she realised that one of her bags containing expensive designer clothes had gone missing in the Terminal 5 launch chaos. Captain Miles Sutherland took the unusual step of informing her personally so that he could make his apologies.
Campbell became enraged and issued orders to someone on her mobile: "They have lost my fucking bags, get me another flight, get the press, get me my lawyer." She then turned to the captain and barked: "Bring me my fucking bags now!"
Melanie Parrish, for the prosecution, told the court: "She instructed him to personally get off the aircraft and get her bag and show it to her. The captain said this wasn't going to happen. He repeatedly tried to take control and asked if he could get a word in." Campbell replied: "How dare you tell me what my options are! You are not leaving until you find my fucking bags."
As three police officers arrived to escort her off the plane Campbell seemed to "completely lose control", the court heard.
"She went berserk, thrashing her arms around uncontrollably and striking PC Eastick on the arm with her phone," Ms Parrish said, explaining that Campbell continued to struggle, kicking in her "formidable platform boots with stiletto-style heels" and spitting at one officer. The only other passenger in the £5,000-a-seat first- class section took refuge in the staff kitchen.
As they dragged Campbell off the plane, she yelled: "It is because I am a black woman? You are all racists. I am going to sue you. I am going to fuck you." When a female officer ignored her, she yelled: "You blonde bitch. Answer me, answer me."
Campbell's lawyer, Simon Nicholls, said she was "genuinely apologetic to the police officers". He added: "I can't say she was quite so sorry about British Airways but she is sorry she behaved in the way she did."
The model was fined £2,300 with a £15 surcharge and ordered to pay compensation of £200 each to the police officers she assaulted, and £150 compensation to the aircraft captain. The chairman of the bench, Peter Yiacoumi, told her they were being lenient because of early guilty pleas and previous good character.
He added: "These offences are aggravated because they were committed within a lengthy incident in a confined space on an aircraft. While we accept that the loss of your suitcase would have been stressful, your subsequent behaviour cannot be justified."
... then the press goes berserk outside the court
Two women facing off, one with her hand grasped around the other's throat. It had to be Naomi Campbell's day in court. But cast your assumptions aside: the model had nothing to do with the fisticuffs.
The Sky News presenter Kay Burley was accused of pinning the Associated Press photographer Kirsty Wigglesworth against a wall by the throat after Burley had been hit in the face with a camera. A Sky News spokesman said: "This incident took place after Kay was struck and injured in the melee outside court. Media scrums are often physical and can get heated but Kay just put her hands up. If she did anything else she apologises."
AP said: "Kirsty is sure she's not the one who bumped Ms Burley in what was clearly a chaotic situation."