A drunk British Airway passenger who shoved a member of the cabin crew and terrified travellers during a mid-air brawl with his wife has been jailed for eight months.
Gurpreet Dhillon, 42, drank three-quarters of a bottle of Gordon’s gin before becoming volatile on the flight from Malaga to Heathrow Airport.
After pushing a cabin crew member twice, the captain of the British Airways flight made a May Day call and the plane was given priority landing.
Dhillon, of Isleworth, was arrested and later pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft, acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft and assault by beating.
Isleworth Crown Court heard that Dhillon had been travelling back from Spain with his wife and brother on October 4 last year when the couple started arguing.
Gurpreet Dhillon (pictured), 42, drank three-quarters of a bottle of Gordon’s gin before becoming volatile on the flight from Malaga in Spain to Heathrow Airport
Dhillon had bought a large bottle of gin from the duty-free store and drank from it before and during the flight.
Cabin crew were alerted that the couple were arguing, with Dhillon swearing in front of families with young children.
Flight attendant Dan Meager tried to separate the parties and told Dhillon to ‘behave himself’ before moving away.
A short while later, he was pushed in the chest with both hands by Dhillon who was ‘continuously swearing and shouting’.
After informing his manager of the incident, Mr Meager returned to the aisles where Dhillon assaulted him for the second time by pushing him in the face, causing him to fall onto a passenger.
As a result, he suffered pain and swelling to his upper lip and reddening to his cheek.
The manager told Dhillon that his behaviour was against the law and removed the gin bottle.
With the help of Dhillon’s brother, she was able to calm the situation.
She noted that he appeared drunk and that his head was ‘heavy’ and he was no longer making sense when he spoke.
The plane landed six minutes ahead of schedule and Dhillon was arrested at Heathrow. He was arrested and later pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft, acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft and assault by beating (Stock image)
However, 20 minutes before the flight was due to land, Dhillon began shouting and swearing again, leaving passengers ‘concerned for their safety’.
Judge Kuljit Bhogal KC summarised: ‘The crew were so scared that it caused the captain to make a mayday call to aircraft control to seek priority landing. Clearly, the circumstances were sufficiently serious to warrant that action.’
The plane landed six minutes ahead of schedule and Dhillon was arrested at Heathrow.
The court heard that he has a number of previous convictions for alcohol-related offences and was handed an eight-year sentence in 2009 after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.
He had been behind the wheel of a green Jaguar XK convertible when he crashed into a roundabout in September 2008 while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
His friend, passenger Tony Proctor, was left with serious injuries and his life support was turned off two days later.
Prior to this, Dhillon had a drunk driving conviction in 2002 and a drunk and disorderly conviction in 2004.
The court heard that since his friend’s death, Dhillon has suffered from PTSD and had not consumed alcohol in three months after attending AA meetings and starting therapy.
Despite recognising his ‘strong willingness to deal with his alcoholism’, Judge Bhogal said that his offences were of an ‘extremely serious nature’ that could have had ‘unforeseen but potentially catastrophic consequences’.
He was jailed for eight months and must serve half of his sentence before he can be released.