Woman Jailed After Drunken Brawl On Etihad Flight Where She Asked Strangers To 'Join The Mile High Club'
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A British woman has been jailed over a drunken four-hour rampage on an Etihad flight where she asked male passengers to join her in the 'mile high club' as the plane cruised at 30,000 feet.
Demi Burton, 20, had already shocked two men by making crude comments about them having in-flight sex during the eight-hour journey while she was intoxicated on red wine.
But when she was refused any more alcohol, Burton shouted: ''You may as well just land the plane now then,'' before angrily raising her fists at cabin crew and going berserk as 259 passengers looked on.
Staff on last year's 9 May flight from Abu Dhabi to Manchester tried to calm Burton down only for her to headbutt, maul and kick out at them during a violent struggle.
It took six crew members and passengers to restrain her. She was arrested when the plane touched down after a nightmare 4,500 mile journey.
A consultant anaesthetist travelling on the flight who was bitten on the elbow and headbutted as he helped restrain Burton claimed it was worse than anything he'd seen working in A&E.
One stewardess was bitten on the forearm and headbutted around the chin. Other passengers received kicks to the ribs and face, while some were left bruised after sustaining headbutts to the cheek.
Air stewardess Fouzia Naim said in a statement: "It was a stressful situation, but whilst I managed to remain calm and professional, it's not acceptable for crew members to be treated this way and not fair on the other passengers to witness things like this. As a result of her being verbally abusive towards me and assaulting, I couldn't eat or drink anything whilst the flight was ongoing.''
Burton, from Carrington, near Manchester, had been travelling home from a three month trip to Australia where she had been visiting family. She claimed she had been drinking as she had a fear of flying.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester she was jailed for six months after she admitted to being drunk on an aircraft and five charges of assault.
Prosecuting, 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 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 any more alcohol to this defendant."
Miss Brocklebank continued: "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 any more alcohol.
"She again approached and asked them directly for alcohol and said that she hadn't drunk anything and only needed it as otherwise she 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 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 headbutting 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*** b****. 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.
''Another passenger, who happened to be a prison warden, had a word and it seemed to have an effect on calming her down.''
After Burton initially denied any wrongdoing, her defence lawyer Martin Callery 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.
"She went to Australia to get away from her family, who have behaved towards her from her early years in a very controlling and very abusive way. She thought it was right to fly back, but was apprehensive about the arrival home and apprehensive about flying itself and had more to drink then was appropriate.
"In England and Wales about 83,000 people are in prison - we send more people to prison in England and Wales then any other country in Europe and approximately 50 percent of people incarcerated are serving sentences that can be measured in months of six to 12 months. This is a case where she need not be sent immediately to prison.
"She is 20 years old and you only need imagine the trepidation and feelings at the prospect of going to prison.''
But when he came to sentencing Burton, 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 [that] 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 [he] had not witnessed such aggressive behaviour before. The matter is too serious to be dealt in any other way other than immediate custody."
LADbible had contacted Etihad for a comment.