Man starts 'eating mobile phone' on flight after drinking straight from gin bottle

Flight diverted after 44-year-old began chewing on electrical parts of device, prompting cabin crew member to put it in water

Tuesday 11 February 2020 13:44

A man who started “eating” his mobile phone after drinking from a bottle of gin onboard a flight to Iceland is facing jail.

Matthew Flaherty, 44, from Cheshire, was travelling on an easyJet flight from Manchester to Iceland in January last year.

A court heard how he drank straight from a bottle of gin, swore at cabin crew and threatened to kill them during the flight, which was forced to divert to Edinburgh.

During the mid-air outburst, Mr Flaherty started chewing on the electrical parts of his mobile phone, reports The Scotsman.

The phone battery began to smoulder, leading one cabin crew member to put it in a glass of water to stop it catching fire.

The plane’s cabin crew manager, who was “very intimidated” by his behaviour, said she was worried he might harm her.

"“The accused took his mobile phone out and began to destroy it with his bare hands cutting himself in the process," said fiscal depute Jade Doidge.

“He was seen putting parts of it into his mouth and chew them up.

She said: “The battery was discarded onto a a seat and as a result it began to heat up and began smouldering.”

Following Mr Flaherty’s behaviour, the pilot decided to divert the flight to Edinburgh airport.

Upon landing, Mr Flaherty was met by police officers who took him to a local station, where he is accused of racially abusing an officer.

He appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to charges including putting the safety of the flight in danger, and will be sentenced next month.

The Independent has contacted easyJet for additional comment.

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