easyJet passenger attacked stewardess after she saw him out of seat

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A man grabbed an air stewardess by the neck after she warned him to be careful as he was out of his seat when the plane was landing.

Colin Smith, 51, was travelling to Malta with his partner for a pre-arranged 50th birthday celebration when the easyJet cabin crew member saw him standing up after the seat belt sign had been switched on.

Assuming Smith was heading to the toilet, she told him to be careful but was met with a “vacant” stare.

Smith then grabbed her by the neck with both hands, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester heard.

Before he attempted to attack her again, the woman was able to get away.

She pushed him back, and he fell onto two seated passengers and was restrained, reports Manchester Evening News.

Whilst he continued lashing out at her, the stewardess asked his partner if he had any health concerns, to which she replied: “I told him not to drink that whisky.”

A week later he was arrested and interviewed and admitted to officers that he had drunk three quarters of a bottle of Famous Grouse whisky, and described himself as being “nine out of 10 drunk”.

Smith, of Anlaby Park, Hull, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to being drunk on an aircraft and assault. He will be sentenced next year.

Prosecuting, Edmund Potts told the court that on March 28 this year, the cabin crew member was working an easyJet flight from Manchester to Malta.

As the aircraft was landing, the seatbelt signs were switched on, and she was making her checks down the aisle when she saw Smith stand up and climb over his two neighbours to get into the aisle.

She assumed he was getting up to use the toilet and warned him to be careful, at which point he looked at her with a “vacant stare” before he “grabbed her around the neck with both hands”, the prosecutor said.

“She shouted at him: ‘What are you doing? I don’t even know you!’,” Mr Potts said.

“The defendant once again came towards her and tried to hit her, causing her to retreat backwards down the aisle.

“In an effort to defend herself, she pushed him away, which caused him to fall onto seated passengers. Some of the passengers helped to restrain him.”

One of the passengers said that he might be having a seizure, but it was quickly established that he was “simply drunk”.

Smith continued lashing out at the woman whilst she spoke to his partner who made the stark admission.

When he returned to the UK a week later on a Jet2 flight, he was arrested and made full admissions.

He said he bought two bottles of Famous Grouse whisky in duty free and had sunk three quarters of one bottle during the journey.

In a victim personal statement read to the court, the woman described feeling upset and anxious. She added that she was scared of further assaults in the future.

Smith was said to have six previous convictions for nine offences, and was most recently before the courts in May 2018 for an offence of battery.

Defending, Colette Renton said her client’s recollection of the incident was “fragmented” due to his intoxication.

She said his fear of flying contributed to his drinking, and said he was going on a prearranged holiday for his 50th birthday which was a “relief” for him and his partner following recent family bereavements.

“He expresses his remorse and states that he wishes to apologise to the victim for the impact that his behaviour has had upon her,” Ms Renton said.

The barrister said he has taken on a caring role for his partner’s disabled daughter, and also cares for his partner’s elderly mother who lives with them and suffers with dementia.

“This defendant represents her [his partner] rock – both in practical and emotional care,” she said. “There are extensive caring responsibilities.”

Ms Renton applied to adjourn the sentence hearing for further reports into the effect of an immediate custodial sentence upon Smith’s partner, her daughter and her mother.

Adjourning the sentence to January 16 next year, Judge Angela Nield told Smith: “I am going to adjourn your sentence for the purposes outlined by your counsel.”

Smith was granted unconditional bail until the next hearing.

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