Ryanair passenger threatened cops called to jet after being disruptive on flight

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Meredith Gibbons, 35, smuggled the alcohol into the flight, but after having it confiscated took it back (Image: Northumbria Police)
Meredith Gibbons, 35, smuggled the alcohol into the flight, but after having it confiscated took it back (Image: Northumbria Police)

A drunken Ryanair passenger who was disruptive on flight from Alicante to Newcastle has been jailed.

A court has heard how Meredith Gibbons threatened to "launch" police officers down the stairs as he was being escorted out of the aircraft.

His behaviour has now been branded as "embarrassing" and "shameful" as there was a "clear risk by drunkenness" to the staff, passengers on board and the plane itself.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the 35-year-old had gone on to smuggle in his own alcohol on a three-hour flight from Alicante, Spain to Newcastle.

And despite the drinks being confiscated from him, he reportedly sneaked into the galley, retrieved the goods and took them to the toilet to consume, report Chronicle Live.

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Ryanair passenger threatened cops called to jet after being disruptive on flightThe court heard that Gibbons had been 'disruptive throughout the flight' (Newcastle Chronicle)

It was also heard how Gibbons repeatedly refused to comply with the safety requests, and the crew on board became so concerned that they ended up contacting air traffic control, who contacted Northumbria Police.

And Gibbons' disorderly behaviour continued when the plane landed at Newcastle International Airport, where a member of ground staff had to help a police officer subdue him

The court was told that around 9.30pm on November 19, Northumbria Police got the call to go to the airport where the officer " formed the view he was drunk."

After being handcuffed, the 35-year-old lashed out and treated the police officer, telling him that he would "throw him down the stairs".

Nick Lane, prosecuting, said: "He was told by a crew member the male passenger occupying seat 5A was drunk and had been disruptive throughout the flight.

"Mr Gibbons was that passenger. He was approached by the police constable, who formed the view he was drunk. He handcuffed him on his left hand to allow him to have his right hand free to use the handrail to exit the aircraft.

"The defendant continued to be verbally abusive walking down the steps, despite being repeatedly told to calm down. At one point he threatened to 'launch us down there', which he took to mean throw him down the stairs.

"At the bottom of the stairs the officer tried to put the second handcuff on and he started to struggle and lash out. The officer was on his own and he required a member of ground staff to help to subdue him."

Ryanair passenger threatened cops called to jet after being disruptive on flightThe disruptive behaviour took place on a Ryanair flight (AFP via Getty Images)

Referring to Gibbons' behaviour on the plane, Mr Lane went on to explain that he had been consuming the alcohol that had been taken from him by the crew on board.

Mr Lane said: "During the flight he had been consuming his own alcohol. It had been confiscated from him and he had gone and taken the alcohol and continued to consume it, despite being asked not to.

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"He hid himself in the toilet and consumed the alcohol. He is described as being very disruptive throughout the flight.

"There's a clear risk by drunkenness to the aircraft and the safety and security of passengers and also to the aircraft itself."

Gibbons, from Gateshead, Newcastle, who has 26 previous convictions, including for dishonesty and battery, pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft and was jailed for eight weeks.

Ryanair passenger threatened cops called to jet after being disruptive on flightNorthumbria Police got the call to go to Newcastle International Airport on November 19 (Newcastle Chronicle)

Recorder Tom Moran told him: "There's a duty on you to behave yourself for the safety of everyone on board. You are in a unique environment where any bad behaviour is likely to cause distress and anxiety to others.

"People don't have the option they normally have to steer clear of someone who is drunk and disruptive. Somewhat surprisingly there's no direct evidence from passengers or crew on the plane.

"But you were determined to drink as much as you possibly could. You had been drinking your own alcohol you had smuggled on. It had been taken off you but you followed the crew and managed to take two cups and took the bottle in the toilet and finished it off.

"You are described as being disruptive throughout. I don't have further details about what that means but you refused to comply with safety requests and it was sufficiently serious that the crew contacted air traffic control and they contacted the police."

The court was told Gibbons has shared custody of his three children.

However, he had coped badly with the loss of a fourth child to sudden infant death syndrome in 2019 and started drinking heavily.

His barrister said his "nuisance" behaviour was "embarrassing" and "shameful" and that it was "not how a grown man should behave on a flight".

The court heard he has stopped drinking and has been having therapy and he provided a reference from a retired professor indicating a different side to his character.

Rob Kennedy

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