NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Drunk man took over plane tannoy on football flight

Graham Leonard Image copyright Newsline Media
Image caption Graham Leonard said he did not realise the full extent of his actions until the following day

A man has admitted endangering an aircraft by taking over the flight's tannoy system to sing karaoke.

Graham Leonard was on a charter flight back to Aberdeen from a Manchester United match at Old Trafford in March when he hijacked the intercom.

The drunken 46-year-old, of Newmachar, later caused part of Aberdeen Airport to be evacuated after setting off a fire alarm.

A sheriff warned Graham he could face jail when he is sentenced next month.

Leonard was part of a group of United fans who chartered an Eastern Airways flight from Aberdeen to Manchester to watch their side's 3-0 win over Tottenham on 15 March.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard the group had downed beers and gin and tonics on the way to the match, before enjoying a corporate event with former players at a Manchester hotel.

Businessman Leonard, who owns a painting and decorating firm in Aberdeen, approached cabin staff on the return flight to ask if he could sing a song on the public address system, part of the communication system used by the captain.

He was told no, but took the microphone and started singing anyway. He repeatedly refused to return to his seat, and also threw a hot towel at a stewardess.

False alarm

On arrival at Aberdeen International Airport, Leonard was seen "talking" into the airport's PA system before activating a fire alarm.

The area had to be evacuated, with about 40 people affected, and two fire engines attended the false alarm.

Defence agent Gregor Kelly said his client was "mortified", and did not realise the extent of what he had done until he spoke to others the next day.

Sheriff Edward Savage deferred sentence for reports.

He said: "I'm not entirely satisfied given the very serious nature of these matters that a financial penalty will reflect how serious these matters are.

"I want to make it absolutely clear that I'm keeping all options open."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites