Northern Ireland

Easyjet 'Nazi salute' passenger jailed after losing appeal

Paul Burgoyne
Image caption Paul Burgoyne gave a Nazi salute when asked to pull up a window blind

A man who gave a Nazi salute on an Easyjet flight and assaulted a pilot has had his appeal against a three-month jail sentence dismissed.

Paul Anthony Burgoyne, 51, committed the offences on board a plane from Belfast International Airport to Birmingham on 11 February.

The judge said Burgoyne's "bullying behaviour" meant "a deterrent sentence is entirely appropriate."

The court heard he taken cocaine and alcohol prior to boarding.

'Alright Mein Fuhrer'

Burgoyne, who is originally from Northern Ireland but now lives in Loughborough, pleaded guilty to nine offences in June and received a three-month jail term for common assault, endangering an aircraft and disorderly behaviour.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that when a member of the cabin crew asked Burgoyne to raise the window blind for take off, he gave her a "Nazi salute" and told her "alright Mein Fuhrer".

"He was told that he would be removed if there were further issues but he continued to be aggressive and swearing," said the lawyer.

Having then been spoken to by the aircraft captain, Burgoyne was deemed unfit to travel.

Burgoyne continued to be aggressive, shouting and swearing at staff, causing both the captain and a female member of the cabin crew to believe he was going to punch them.

Pilot's watch broken

The court heard that, at one stage, Burgoyne tried to "grab the captain by the throat but grabbed him by the shirt collar" which resulted in a struggle during which the pilot's £600 watch was broken.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The incident happened as the plane prepared to take off from Belfast International Airport in February

Ejected from the plane, which was still attached to the tug vehicle, Burgoyne kicked the vehicle and then tried to get in it, grabbing the joystick and steering wheel before kicking a member of the ground crew who tried to intervene.

When he was arrested and interviewed, Burgoyne accepted it was himself in the CCTV footage but denied that he assaulted anyone.

As well as the jail sentence, the judge fined Burgoyne £500 and ordered him to pay £600 to the plane's captain for damage caused to the watch.

A defence barrister told the court the fine had already been paid and was in keeping with his "expressions of remorse and regret".

'Toxic' family meeting

The lawyer told the court Burgoyne had come back to Northern Ireland for a family meeting which unfortunately had "become toxic" and coupled with issues dating back to childhood "was the straw that broke the camel's back".

Since being freed on bail pending Monday's appeal, the court heard Burgoyne has been undergoing counselling to deal with these issues.

Submitting that Burgoyne could be dealt with by a less serious sentence than imprisonment, defence argued that his client's case differed from other air rage cases in that his offences were committed "on the tarmac rather than whilst in the air".

The judge told Burgoyne his offences would have been "quite terrifying" for his fellow passengers and added: "He behaves in a bullying manner to the staff and a deterrent sentence is entirely appropriate."

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