A grandmother who became drunk on a transatlantic flight and punched a stewardess was jailed for six months yesterday.
Doris Healy, 56, who has three children and 10 grandchildren, was so intoxicated she had to be taken by wheelchair off the Air 2000 flight from Manchester at Stanford, Florida.
Joanna Radikis, for the prosecution, told Manchester Crown Court Healy had been making a nuisance of herself and using abusive language on the nine-hour flight last year. As the plane came in to land, she stood up. When a stewardesss, Paula Dilworth, 26, asked Healy to sit down, she was punched three times on the side of the face. Healy, a care worker, of Old Swan, Liverpool, admitted assault and being drunk on anaircraft. Her husband Thomas, 60, a chemical worker, wept as she was sentenced.
Healy had drunk three Bacardi and Cokes, and cabin crew saw she was "somewhat merry". She was not served more drinks, but insisted on Cokes. She had a duty-free bottle of Bacardi, later found under her seat, three-quarters empty.
Healy became increasingly loud and began swearing, repeatedly pressing the call bell to summon staff. She complained about the food and used offensive language in front of children. Further requests for alcohol were refused.
The court was told Healy continued to swear, shout and kick as she was removed from the plane. She told police in Manchester she had been bought three drinks by a man sitting next to her. She could not remember anything further until she woke up on the floor of the US immigration office.
Her counsel, Gerald Baxter, said Healy had previously been of "impeccable" character.
"She is extremely distressed about her appearance here today and extremely ashamed of her behaviour," he said. Mr Healy told the court he had travelled the world with his wife without trouble but this time she had flown alone on holiday after her doctor advised her to take a break.
The court was told Miss Dilworth has nightmares and insomnia and was off work for three weeks. She took counselling but was now frightened of tackling rowdy passengers. She is looking for a new job.
The judge said information from the Civil Aviation Authority indicated an average of four air rage incidents a day on British aircraft. A change in the law was needed and an immediate ban on passengers drinking their own alcohol on flights.
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