A drunk female passenger has been given an eight month suspended sentence and 60 hours of community work after forcing an airline pilot to abandon a landing at Manchester Airport by fighting with passengers and crew. Lynn Grimes, who was on an EasyJet flight from Athens to Manchester, had been drinking before the flight and had also drank four airline-size bottles of wine.
The passenger – who suffers from a phobia of flying – managed to escape a prison sentence after the judge learned of her immediate regret for her reactions, combined with the fact that Grimes did not have enough medication to deal with her anxiety on the return flight, which is why she tried to calm herself by drinking.
Grimes had been invited to sit with cabin crew in the galley at the back of aircraft to help calm her nerves during the flight, however when asked to return to her allocated seat during landing for safety reasons she refused. As passengers and crew attempted to reason with her she became abusive and aggressive, grabbing one passenger by the hair and pulling a scarf around her neck. She also kicked crew member Mark Webster in the stomach.
The pilot decided to abort the landing at Manchester Airport for safety reasons until Grimes was properly seated. When the plane eventually landed, Grimes was escorted away with help from two male passengers who had helped to restrain her during the flight.
Judge Jonathan Geake at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court said “normally, immediate sentences of imprisonment follow from such behaviour. The travelling public are entitled to know that the courts will not tolerate violent behaviour on an aircraft which can endanger the plane, passengers and crew.”
However, despite Grime’s reckless behaviour, Judge Geake noted that she did have a genuine phobia of flying, adding “when asked to return to your seat, you simply panicked, lost your head, and started struggling and fighting with those around you.”
As well as the eight month suspended sentence and 60 hours of community work, Lynn Grimes will also have to take part in a medical programme aimed at helping her.