A businessman, who aimed a foul-mouthed drunken rant towards a family on a flight from the Middle-East when an economics discussion got out of hand, received a suspended prison sentence yesterday.
Justin Peter Cross, 46, of Horsham Road, Cranleigh, Surrey was arrested at Heathrow Airport after stepping off a Qatar Airways flight from Doha.
He pleaded guilty to being drunk on the Boeing 777 aircraft on January 23 and was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for eighteen months, ordered to perform 150 hours community service work, pay £650 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
Prosecutor Miss Pamela Reiss told Isleworth Crown Court: “He had been very disruptive on the flight and very abusive to one family, a mother and father travelling with their two teenage daughters.
“Mr. Cross was shouting and swearing, using the word 'f***' several times, and shouting at the family, calling them: 'F***ing pigs' which is a particularly abusive word to people from Qatar.
“He was staggering and unsteady on his feet and the pilot radioed through and he was arrested after the landing.”
Cross was questioned by police and eventully apologised for his drunken behaviour.
“He did say he was only having a discussion about economics and did say the argument was heated and he used foul language,” added Miss Reiss.
“He showed little remource, but at the end of the interview he said he was embarrased and sorry for his actions.”
Cross's lawyer Miss Nina Kaikini told the court: “He is extremely sorry, he travels four to six times a year, is a regular traveller and nothing like this has ever happened before.
“He admits he was rude and obnoxious and consumed alcohol that was provided during the flight.
“He was under considerable stress due to business difficulties and everything built up and he behaved in a way he wouldn't normally.”
Recorder John Hobson QC told Cross: “You were drunk and very abusive to a family, using aggressive language.
“All this happened when the plane was airborne. It's a potentially very dangerous situation.”