A piece in today’s Times:
A first-class passenger on a British Airways flight punched, kicked and swore at cabin crew when they refused to serve her a seventh bloody Mary.
Emma Langford, 48, an interior designer from Old Basing in Hampshire, had been on her way to a residential rehab clinic in South Africa.
She told one steward: “You have a massive arse” and tipped a tray of plates and glasses on to the floor, cutting a member of the crew. Isleworth crown court was told that she punched another steward several times and pushed and held another against the plane door. She taunted them about the cost of her £8,000 ticket and asked if they could afford such seats. After an hour-long tirade a blanket was thrown over her, she was handcuffed and when the plane landed she was arrested.
A Heathrow police officer who happened to be on the flight in December 2018 said that it was the worst incident he had ever seen on a plane. Langford later admitted three charges of assaulting cabin staff, being drunk on an aircraft, criminal damage and abusing aircraft crew. Yesterday she was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months.
Judge Nicholas Wood also ordered her to pay £1,000 to the three victims. [J4MB: How can this be a suitable punishment for a woman who can afford a £8,000 first-class air ticket? It can’t be.] He told Langford, who is divorced and has children aged seven and eight: “I have no doubt whatsoever there were passengers on that plane that were fearful of their lives and of what you might do, on that alone this court is perfectly entitled to send you to prison today, but because you’re not a person of penis, you won;t be going to prison today. [J4MB: We added a few words there, but they’re implied.] There is no exit route at 30,000 ft.”
He added: “You’ve had severe alcohol problems since 2007 and you have bipolar disorder. On the one hand, being drunk on a plane is an aggravating feature of the offence, having bipolar might reduce your culpability. You have fought back and fought hard and are 129 days sober, which is a feat in itself.”
During previous court appearances Langford had worn an alcohol monitoring device.
Guy Wyatt, in mitigation, said that she had “lost control of herself catastrophically” and asked the judge to pass a suspended sentence because of the “significant harmful impact” on her two children if she was jailed. [J4MB: The classic “Get out of jail free” card, available to women only.]
Mr Wyatt said that Langford was trying hard to rehabilitate and now attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings three to four times a week and received treatment for her mental illness.
“It’s striking that she was travelling to South Africa to book herself into residential rehabilitation,” he said. “She was going through a difficult time because of a few things. The consequences of the breakdown of her marriage, anxieties of whether the children would be living with her or not.
“Those anxieties got the better of her [J4MB: In plain English, as a woman she has no moral agency, so can’t be held properly accountable, as a man would certainly be] and she crashed catastrophically into heavy drinking, something that she had done before.”
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