A drunken holidaymaker who threatened to kill cabin crew and swore at police in a 40-minute tantrum when he learned his plane would be late taking off has been spared jail.
Scott Hardman, 36, headbutted and kicked the door to the Jet2 aircraft and shouted ‘Get me the f*** off this f***ing plane!’ when the Boeing 737-800 developed a technical fault on its way to the runway at Manchester Airport.
As the aircraft remained temporarily grounded while technicians investigated the fault, Hardman, who was due to holiday in Prague with his father in law, reduced one air hostess to tears when he began arguing with other passengers on February 14.
The father of three, who had been drinking heavily, threatened to kill cabin crew and other passengers up to 15 times and pleaded for his wife of 17 years to pick him up.
He added: ‘My life is all over – this is it now. I’m going to f***ing kill you. I’m going to knock you out.’
Police at Manchester Airport were summoned to the Jet2 aircraft and but Hardman went on: ‘Go on then f***ing arrest me you f***ing pigs – watch what happens when we get off this plane. I just want to go home.’
Hardman, from Heaton Norris, Stockport, was handcuffed and escorted off the plane and left in the cells to sober up. The aircraft subsequently took off without further incident.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Hardman admitted being drunk on an aircraft and was given five months jail, suspended for a year.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Scott Hardman admitted being drunk on aircraft and was given five months jail, suspended for a year
Sentencing Judge Elizabeth Nicholls told Hardman: ‘You are 36, not 16, and need to grow up and take control of yourself. You should know how to behave responsibly towards other people.
‘This offence, as is so often the case, caused harm as a result of irresponsible conduct and a lack of self-control. I suspect although I do not know that there were young children on board when you engaged in your display of violence.
‘You have children – just think how they would feel being stuck on a plane with this man ranting and raving, kicking the door down and lashing out. It would be terrifying.
‘When police arrived you still behaved in an irrational way no doubt because you were drunk and in pain. There is no excuse for your conduct.’
Judge Nicholls said that Hardman’s plea at the earliest opportunity reflects his ‘remorse’ immediately after the offence.
Hardman was also made the subject of a 7 pm-5.30 am curfew.
Flight attendant Lauren Harvey had said in a statement: ‘As a result of the incident I have been left very shaken up I went on the flight deck and cried for a while – I was that shaken.
‘It lasted for 40 minutes I was with the man for 10 minutes and I saw him from a hands distance away. The captain saw how I was and told me I couldn’t work in my state I had to go home because of how this behaviour impacted on me.’
Hardman, 36, headbutted and kicked the door to the Jet2 aircraft and shouted ‘Get me the f**k off this f**king plane!’ when the Boeing 737-800 developed a technical fault on its way to the runway at Manchester Airport (stock image)
The flight had been scheduled to depart at 2.15pm but a cabin crew member was concerned about the behaviour of a group of passengers, including the defendant, who appeared to be drunk at the rear of an aircraft, Prosecutor Simone Flynn said.
She continued: ‘The aircraft had not taken off due to a technical problem and remained grounded for maintenance work. But the defendant was observed by a member of cabin crew as behaving aggressively while shouting obscenities at another man and threatening violence.
‘With the help of a senior cabin crew member the defendant was taken to the rear of the plane but he was shouting and screaming and saying he wanted to get off.
‘The senior cabin crew member said in a statement that she heard the defendant say ”I’m going to f***ing kill you” and ”I’m going to knock you out” to one of the men. He is said to have made these threats 15 times.
Hardman was then joined by his father in law, who tried to calm him down, but the defendant ‘remained very erratic and began kicking the plane door,’ Ms Flynne said.
‘A senior cabin crew member then tried to calm him down and he did indeed calm down at this point. He wanted his wife to come and pick him up.
‘Police then arrived and an officer has given evidence to say he was clearly under the influence of intoxicants with a strong smell of alcohol coming from him.
Sentencing Judge Elizabeth Nicholls told Hardman: ‘You are 36, not 16, and need to grow up and take control of yourself. You should know how to behave responsibly towards other people’ (pictured: Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester)
‘He was asked to turn around and face the aircraft door but was uncooperative but he did eventually find the aircraft door and head butted it.’
Hardman was handcuffed, at which point he shouted obscenities at the officer. He was then taken off the aircraft, bringing the 40-minute episode to an end.
In mitigation defence counsel Robert Kearney said his client suffered from depression and anxiety and added: ‘The aircraft was not in flight and emotions got the better of him.
‘Who knows if he would have reacted in this way if the plane was in flight, but when it briefly was moving before the technical issues were found he did not cause any issues.
‘There was no violence apart from the head butt of the door in anger and temper and he threatened to sue but did not use violence.
‘He had recently had an operation on his shoulder and it is clear from video footage that he was crying out and saying his shoulder was in real pain when he was being handcuffed. Officers didn’t do anything about this because they were obviously concerned about their safety and the safety of other passengers.
‘It is clear he was his own worst enemy when police arrived and he was being calmed down. When police arrived he did not have the good sense to keep quiet. This is a man who was distressed and in a poor state of mind that day.’