Drunk BA passenger Emma Langford sentenced after punching crew

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Emma LangfordImage source, Kirsty O'Connor/PA
Image caption,
Emma Langford pleaded guilty to three charges of assault by beating

A drunk woman who assaulted cabin crew on a British Airways plane has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Emma Langford, 47, was on board the flight from Heathrow Airport to South Africa in December 2018 on her way to a residential rehabilitation for her alcoholism.

She punched and pushed flight staff, and left one with a cut to their leg.

At at Isleworth Crown Court the mother-of-two was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

Judge Nicholas Wood said the decision to suspend the sentence was "borderline" but he said custody would have an impact on her recovery and children.

He told the court: "There is no escape route at 30,000 feet.

"I've no doubt whatsoever there were passengers on that plane that were fearful of their lives over what you might do."

'Puffed-up chest'

Uxbridge Magistrates' Court previously heard that about 30 minutes after flight BA043 for Cape Town took off, Langford, smelling of alcohol, demanded a drink and was verbally abusive to the crew.

She also entered the plane's galley displaying "agitated body language" but was told to calm down and given a bottle of water.

BA customer services manager Matthew Richardson said she later "approached me with a puffed-up chest and was behaving erratically again".

He said she hit him several times, including three punches to his left collarbone.

At one point Langford tipped up a drawer of plates and tray of glasses, causing them to break, Mr Richardson said.

His colleagues Poppy Haynes and Monique Foulger were also hit, the court heard.

Eventually, Langford was served with a violation notice by staff on the plane.

"She then ripped it up and responded saying 'blah, blah, blah'," Mr Richardson said.

'Contrition'

His statement added that Ms Langford was restrained in her seat for the rest of the journey.

In mitigation, Guy Wyatt said her anxiousness about flying had "got the better of her.

He added: "Through me, she apologises and expresses her contrition towards cabin crew, other passengers and all involved."

Langford was handed five-month sentences, suspended for 18 months, for the assaults, served concurrently with a 12-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, for the charge of being drunk on an aircraft.

The judge also ordered Langford to pay £1,000 compensation to the three British Airways staff, and £1,000 in costs.

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