Drunk groom thrown off jet for hit­ting cabin crew

Daily Mail - - Life - Daily Mail Re­porter

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

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