A 21-year-old man whose violent behaviour caused a transatlantic flight to be turned around and ground just an hour after taking off has been jailed.
Jeffrey Libby (19.03.1997) from Fort Worth, Texas, USA, was sentenced on 16 January at Isleworth Crown Court to a total of six months imprisonment.
On 24 December 2018, Libby pleaded guilty three counts of common assault; one count of being drunk on board an aircraft, contrary to the Air Navigation Order 2016; and, one count of using threatening, abusive or insulting words towards cabin crew, contrary to the Air Navigation Order 2016. Libby was also fined £100 in relation to the using threatening and abusive words towards the cabin crew and ordered to pay £415 in costs and victim surcharge.
On 17 December, Libby boarded a British Airways flight from Heathrow to Dallas. An hour into the flight Libby became highly intoxicated from drinking Bacardi rum, which he had brought on to the plane himself, and was then aggressive and abusive towards members of the cabin crew and other passengers on board. As they tried to calm Libby down, he then proceeded to assault two of the passengers and one member of the cabin crew, scratching and striking them and even biting one of the passenger’s fingers.
Because of Libby’s disruptive behaviour and concerns for the safety of the crew and passengers on board, the captain authorised Libby’s restraint and the flight was diverted back to Heathrow, where Libby was met on arrival by officers from the Met’s Aviation Policing Command and arrested.
Detective Inspector Matt East, from the Met’s Aviation Policing Command said: “Libby’s behaviour was extremely reckless and he put the safety of the passengers and crew on board at risk.
“Not only that, but his actions caused considerable disruption and inconvenience for all those on board, and the airline had to rearrange flights for the 191 other passengers.
“Drunken, abusive and violent behaviour on board any flight is completely unacceptable. Anyone behaving in this way should know that it will not be tolerated by the crew and that they can expect to be arrested, put before the courts and could face several months behind bars.”