MANCHESTER — Get that man a drink, stat! A man from Cheshire in North West England has been handed a seven-month jail sentence for shouting “what does it take to get a f***ing drink in this place” over the intercom while on a flight last August.
Matthew Worrall, 28, was onboard a Jet2 flight from Manchester to Tenerife during which he made repeated requests for alcohol and tried to flirt with the air hostess while she carried out safety checks. After taking over the plane’s intercom and demanding a drink, Captain Tim Griffiths was forced to leave his co-pilot in order to confront Worrall.
During proceedings at Manchester Crown Court, it was revealed that Griffiths asked Worrall to produce his passport. According to the Telegraph, Worrall replied: “It’s in the overhead locker and I can’t get it because the seatbelt signs are on.”
Worrall, a Network Rail linesman, admitted to a charge of purposely interfering with the performance of aircraft crew member’s duty.
Daniel Brooks, who defended Worrall in court, said that his client is “a hardworking young man” and that there was no evidence Worrall was drunk at the time. He also said Worrall did not remember using such colourful language over the intercom.
“He’s not given any thought to what he’s done, he’s seen a telephone in front of him and stupidly picked it up,” Brooks said. “He’s ashamed and embarrassed and I feel confident saying he’s never going to trouble a court again.”
Judge Steiger, who passed down the strict sentence, said Worrall’s behaviour could not be attributed to a moment of madness.
“It’s perfectly clear from the evidence that the defendant had been drinking and throughout the flight craved more,” he told the court. “At a critical moment, when the plane had begun its descent and at a time when it must have been obvious to the defendant, he got up and used the intercom system, thereby disturbing those on the flight.
“This was done deliberately and it can’t possibly be said this was a moment of madness – the defendant’s conduct throughout demonstrating a complete refusal to abide by civilised values.
“In my judgement this is clearly a case where a deterrent sentence is called for.”