Woman asked male passengers on flight to join her in ‘mile-high club’ then attacked cabin crew in four-hour drunken rampage

After being refused more alcohol she shouted: ‘You may as well just land the plane now then!’

Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 07 January 2020 18:56
Demi Burton, 20, was flying on an Etihad airlines flight from Abu Dhabi to Manchester
Demi Burton, 20, was flying on an Etihad airlines flight from Abu Dhabi to Manchester

A woman has been sent to jail after asking passengers on a flight to join her “mile-high club” and then attacking cabin crew during a four-hour drunken rampage.

Demi Burton, 20, was flying on an Etihad airlines flight from Abu Dhabi to Manchester when she propositioned them about having mid-air sex while she was drunk on red wine.

After being refused any more alcohol during the eight-hour flight, she shouted: “You may as well just land the plane now then!”

Staff tried to calm her down but she lashed out with head butts and kicks and even tried to bite other passengers. It took six crew members and passengers to restrain her.

Burton was arrested when the plane landed.

Burton, from Carrington, had been returning home from a three-month trip to Australia, where she had been visiting family. She claimed to have been drinking because she feared flying.

She was jailed for six months at Minshull Street Crown Court after admitting to being drunk on an aircraft and five charges of assault.

Judge John Edwards said: “Good order on any flight – in particular a long distance one – is essential and those who undermine that put that at risk by behaving in such crass way. I’m afraid you have to be dealt with in a way that might deter others.

“Whilst you didn’t do anything actively to endanger the aircraft it was in the air at the time, a person behaving in that manner would have at the very least created the possibility of endangerment of the plane for its 259 passengers including, young families.

“Your behaviour was unpleasant, violent and persistent over a lengthy period. So that a doctor, an anaesthetist by profession remarks in all his dealings in A&E had not witnessed such aggressive behaviour before. The matter is too serious to be dealt in any other way other than immediate custody.’’

Describing the events on 9 May, Prosecutor Miss Claire Brocklebank said: “It appears she was drunk before getting on the flight and she started making a number of inappropriate sexual comments to a number of male passengers on the flight.

“Two in particular remember hearing comments and at first they laughed it off but it then became more and more increasingly inappropriate and she asked them to join the mile high club. Both tried to end conversation with her but she carried on. One said he felt quite shocked by her comments and people around her started to ask her to be quiet as others could hear.

‘’She shouted to one ‘shut up, you specky four eyed b*****d’’ and other abusive comments and swore at other passengers. One passenger who was a doctor had his children with him and it was very distressing and inappropriate. He spoke to one of the crew members and asked her to consider not serving anymore alcohol to this defendant.

“The defendant then approached and asked for two red wines and she was refused. But she approached another crew member who hadn’t received the message and so she was given the wine. Ten minutes later was asking for more and was shouting and the decision was made it would not be appropriate to allow this particular passenger anymore alcohol.

“She again approached and asked them directly for alcohol and said that she hadn’t drunk anything only needed it otherwise would suffer panic attacks. But when she was informed about the decision, she started demanding to speak to the pilot and said: ‘You may as well just land the plane now then.’

“Attempts were made to calm her down but she got up from her seat and in the direction of one of the crew members raised her fists towards her in a threatening manner. The decision was made here to physically restrain her but they had to be assisted by as many as six passengers to help restrain her by holding her down.

“A number of passengers were moved to other seats and throughout the time they were trying to restrain her, the defendant was struggling, shouting and screaming and it was only after several minutes that it was possible to place the plastic restraints on her wrists to her seat. Throughout she was kicking and struggling and at one point kicked out, hitting the TV.

“She was head butting and trying to bite other passengers that had restrained her and accused other passengers of being racist. One person recalls hearing her call the cabin manager an ugly c**t b***h. She carried on being difficult and abusive for a number of hours some say up to four hours and some say up to one hour until she tired herself out.”

Burton initially denied any wrongdoing.

Martin Callery, her defence lawyer, said: “She is thoroughly ashamed of herself and because she is remorseful, she is utterly embarrassed at the way she behaved.

“It is completely out of character as far as she is concerned.”

Additional reporting by Cavendish Press

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