Drunk groom thrown off jet for hitting cabin crew
A GROOM has been jailed after being thrown off a plane for attacking cabin crew as he and his bride set off on their honeymoon.
Michael Cunnett, 38, had drunk four pints of Stella Artois lager before boarding the 9am flight to Egypt.
He unleashed homophobic abuse after being asked to turn off an e- cigarette then floored a flight attendant with two punches and hit one of his colleagues.
As other passengers looked on horrified, his bride shouted at him: ‘Look at what you’ve done. You have f***** our honeymoon.’ Cunnett carried on the abuse when police arrived and then knocked himself out by headbutting the cage in their squad car.
The plasterer, of Epsom, Surrey, was jailed for seven months and ordered to pay £500 compensation to each of his two victims.
He claimed he was ashamed of his behaviour and did not hold homophobic views.
But at Lewes Crown Court, Judge David Rennie said the alcohol he had drunk brought out his ‘true character’ and he had been like ‘a child having a tantrum’.
Ryan Richter, prosecuting, said cabin crew had spotted that Cunnett was being louder than other passengers as he boarded the flight at Gatwick in February.
He also had an e-cigarette and trouble erupted when easyJet staff asked him not to smoke it. Cunnett lashed out with homophobic slurs before punching crew member Andre Botha twice, knocking him to the floor.
Another flight attendant Christopher Bogley asked Cunnett to calm down but he was hit as well.
Once in the police van, Cunnett abused an officer by calling him a ‘ baldy c***’ then kicked and butted the cage, knocking himself out. The court heard on Tuesday that Mr Botha had feared for his safety and being attacked again.
His colleague Mr Bogley, a flight attendant for 12 years, said: ‘He didn’t know my sexuality but I am a gay man and proud of it.
‘No-one deserves to be discriminated against for their sexuality.
‘Many people struggle with it and deal with mental health problems on a daily basis. His remarks to me were personal.
‘If he travels again, my hope is he will treat people with respect and acknowledge that he lives in a diverse society, which should be embraced, not ridiculed.’ Judge Rennie praised Mr Bogley’s statement, saying: ‘It was sensitive and fair, and it echoes all right-thinking people in society.’
David Forsyth, defending, said Cunnett was ‘fully aware that his behaviour was reprehensible’ and he was ‘thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed’.
The defendant, whose bride was not named, accepted that other passengers would have been frightened and alarmed.
Cunnett admitted interfering with the performance of cabin crew, two common assaults and criminal damage to the van. The judge said: ‘It was like a child having a tantrum.
‘You chose to drink four pints and to behave in a foul-mouthed, highly abusive manner. Something of your true character did reveal itself.
‘We do have to ask why airports are selling that amount of alcohol outside usual licensing hours.
‘An attack on the perceived sexuality of these men was utterly shameful. People like you find yourself on the edge of society. Only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified.’
Cunnett: Sent to prison