Man jailed after endangering plane with anti-gay air steward abuse

Stephen Gray March 21, 2012
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A British man has been jailed after shouting homophobic abuse at air stewards and endangering the safety of a flight to Tenerife.

John Hawkins, 32, of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside was on a Thomas Cook flight to the Canary Islands when he began shouting anti-gay abuse at the male air stewards and became aggressive with other passengers.

The St Helens Reporter said the flight had to return to the UK and the man physically restrained by staff.

Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester sentenced Hawkins to eight months in prison for endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Hawkins defence lawyer said his client suffered chronic pain as a result of an accident leaving him with impaired mobility, but the judge pointed out that his mobility problems were not enough to “stop [him] committing criminal offences”.

Judge Jonathan Geake said: “Your behaviour was grotesque, and completely outrageous.

“Your treatment of fellow passengers and the way you hurled offensive homophobic comments at cabin crew, and generally ranted, was inexcusable.”

The paper reported that he had been travelling with his family and when asked to stop shouting abuse for the sake of the children present on the plane, he had said he did not “give a **** about children, I’ve got children of my own.”

More: air travel, canary islands, flight, prison, Tenerife, thomas cook

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