London

British Airways cabin crew jailed over flight bomb threat

A former British Airways crew member who made a mid-air bomb threat has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Mathew Davis, 22, scrawled a message on a toilet door of the London to Tokyo flight, BA007, in February. About 150 passengers were on board.

He pleaded guilty to communicating false information with intent at Isleworth Crown Court on 10 May.

Davis, of Crawley, West Sussex, hoped that appearing calm in a crisis would win him a promotion, the court heard.

The court heard that Davis wrote on the back of the toilet door: "The bomb on board will explode at 16:00 GMT unless our demands are met."

'Shaken and terrified'

He alerted a member of the cabin crew an hour before the "deadline".

The court heard she was "shaken and terrified and did believe there was a bomb on the plane".

Davis also alerted the captain, but the court heard that the experienced pilot "very quickly realised it was a hoax and probably committed by one of the crew".

He asked Davis to fill out a report, and then compared the crew member's handwriting to that on the message.

Davis was suspended from service when the flight touched down in Tokyo and was put on a flight to London as a passenger, where he was arrested on landing.

The court heard that Davis had "no intention of causing mass panic or terror to passengers".

He thought he could tell the captain about the note and then "be shown to be calm in a crisis to gain some credit from his employer".

His lawyer said Davis "did not have the intention for any passengers on the plane to see this note".

Davis once started a fire at his school and then reported it in an attempt to appear heroic, the court heard.

Sentencing him, Judge Anna Guggenheim QC said: "The scale of the harm that you were contemplating inflicting on other people was so great that having regard to the public interest and to deter people from carrying out similar offences, only a custodial sentence is a proper and just outcome in this case for such reckless behaviour.

"Your thinking was on that day quite distorted. You are not an unkind or wicked person."

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