Jail for air rage pair

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The Independent Online

Two Irish travellers have been jailed after being found guilty of violence on board a packed holiday jet.

Two Irish travellers have been jailed after being found guilty of violence on board a packed holiday jet.

Patrick Connors, 36, of Lewisham, south-east London, was sentenced to 12 months for endangering an Airtours flight to Montego Bay in Jamaica on January 31 last year. He was also sentenced to six months for affray on board the jet, to run concurrently.

Francis Coyle, 40, also from Lewisham, was sentenced to three months for his part in the affray.

They were found guilty last month after a three week trial.

The flight from Gatwick airport was diverted to Norfolk, Virginia, after the violence erupted and they were sent back to the UK in disgrace.

During the trial, the jury heard how a group of six men and six women on the Boeing 767 had been "boisterous" when they boarded and carried on ordering drinks after take-off.

As the flight continued they became increasingly noisy, with the women singing traditional Irish songs and Cliff Richard's hit Summer Holiday.

Later in the flight, Connors fougth with a Jamaican passenger sitting near the group at the rear of the flight who had told Connors to "shut those women up".

One female passenger said the scene was like a "bar room brawl", and said she was petrified. Other passengers were screaming and crying during the fracas.

At the same trial, Elizabeth O'Driscoll, 34, also of Lewisham, was found not guilty of being drunk on the flight and the judge ordered the jury to acquit Angela O'Driscoll, 39, and Josephine Cooper, 19, of the same charges.

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