Angry Bristol car owner jailed for grabbing helicopter

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Media captionEyewitness call to 999: ''It just missed a couple of the houses''

A man has been sentenced to a year in prison for endangering the safety of an aircraft when he grabbed a helicopter as it took off in Bristol.

Bristol Crown Court was told Houshang Jafari, 58, became "extremely angry" after the helicopter landed near his flat, causing debris to hit his car.

The court heard how Jafari grabbed one of its skid bars as the pilot tried to take off with four passengers on board.

The pilot managed to take off safely despite Jafari's actions last March.

Image caption The court was told Jafari also kicked the helicopter

Dr Mark Blockland, who was in charge of the helicopter, was credited in court for using his "considerable skill" to allow it to take off safely despite it lurching violently.

Sentencing Jafari, Judge Michael Roach said it was a "deliberate and much more a reckless and dangerous act" and, despite the fact he was a business and family man, he had "no choice" other than to send him to prison.

The court had previously heard Dr Blockland had landed close to Dower House to pick up two passengers.

Jafari was said to have become angry when the private aircraft blew debris at his Range Rover.

He approached the helicopter, threw a bag of rubbish at its nose and then kicked it.

As the pilot tried to take off, Jafari grabbed the skid bar as it was about 6ft (1.83m) off the ground.

This caused the helicopter to lurch to the right. An eyewitness told the court the aircraft narrowly missed nearby houses as it "swerved around" and "flew erratically" away.

Pictures of the incident taken by another resident of Dower House were shown to the court.

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