Arsonist jailed for toilet fires on Sharm el-Sheikh flight

A beach resort in the Red Sea town of Sharm el-Sheikh - generic image Image copyright MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The flight was travelling from Birmingham to Sharm el-Sheikh, prosecutors told the court

A man has been jailed after starting two fires in toilets on a flight to Sharm el-Sheikh.

John Cox, 46, admitted arson following a Monarch flight from Birmingham airport in 2015, a court heard.

A Mayday situation was declared after the second fire started at 35,000ft (10,668m) with crew members involved in putting the fires out, Birmingham Crown Court was told.

Cox, of Coates Road, Kidderminster, was jailed for four years and six months.

The court heard the captain was notified of the first fire at the back of the plane an hour into the flight on 27 August 2015, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Image caption According to the CPS, the flight left Birmingham airport carrying 194 passengers

Three hours later the cabin crew confirmed there was another fire in a different toilet at the back of the plane.

After the captain was notified the crew was having difficulties extinguishing it he had declared a Mayday situation and was looking to carry out an emergency descent.

The distress call was later cancelled when the second blaze was put out.

Cox was later arrested and pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered.

Paul Reid, from the CPS, said: "The motive of John Cox behind such a senseless crime is still unclear, but what is clear is that his irresponsible actions put the lives of all passengers and crew on board the aircraft in danger.

"We commend the cabin crew for their quick action in extinguishing the fires which prevented the situation escalating."

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