Sun. May 26th, 2024
alert-–-pictured:-social-worker,-38,-who-punched-jet2-cabin-crew,-screamed-down-the-intercom-and-smashed-plane’s-toilet-in-drunken-rampage-which-forced-pilot-of-turkey-bound-flight-to-make-emergency-landingAlert – Pictured: Social worker, 38, who punched Jet2 cabin crew, screamed down the intercom and smashed plane’s toilet in drunken rampage which forced pilot of Turkey-bound flight to make emergency landing

A social worker whose drunken behaviour on a Jet2 flight to Turkey was so appalling the pilot was forced to call an emergency landing has been pictured.

During a flight to Antalya on September 6 last year, Heather Anne McCarroll punched cabin crew, screamed down the intercom and smashed the plane’s toilet in a drunken rampage. 

Yesterday at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, the 38-year-old was handed a four month jail sentence. But she was not immediately detained as District Judge Nigel Broderick granted the mother-of-two bail, pending an appeal of her sentence likely to be heard next month.

At an earlier hearing McCarroll, from Cullybackey, Co Antrim, entered guilty pleas to four charges of common assault, a single offence of criminal damage, being drunk on a plane, endangering the safety of an aircraft, and behaving in a threatening, abusive or disorderly manner towards cabin crew.

Judge Broderick told her he was minded to impose a deterrent sentence because ‘there are too many of these incidents’. 

Highlighting that he had dealt with numerous similar cases as Belfast International Airport falls within the jurisdiction of his court, DJ Broderick told McCarroll ‘I have to say, this is possibly the worst form of behaviour that I have come across’.

During the flight to Antalya on September 6 last year, social worker Heather Anne McCarroll (pictured) screamed down the intercom and smashed the plane’s toilet in a drunken rampage

Social worker Heather Anne McCarroll’s behaviour on a Jet2 flight to Turkey was so appalling the pilot was forced to call an emergency to ‘land as soon as possible’

District Judge Nigel Broderick highlighted that he had dealt with numerous similar cases as Belfast International Airport falls within the jurisdiction of his court

‘It is not unfortunately uncommon for passengers to take excessive amounts of alcohol and to then be disruptive on a flight but this behaviour takes it to a whole new level,’ declared the judge.

On Tuesday, a prosecuting lawyer outlined how police were contacted by Jet2 staff four days after the incident and told police how passenger sitting at 32D – who was identified as McCarroll – began shouting and swearing at cabin crew and calling the cabin manager a ‘big lesbian b******’.

Despite not being served further alcohol, McCarroll was seen drinking more booze and she was again abusive to the cabin manager, calling her a ‘f****** s**t and w***e b******,’ said the lawyer, adding that she had also been ‘openly using a vape’.

At one stage, McCarroll went to the toilet and while she was inside the cubicle, she could be heard ‘shouting sexual obscenities and kicking the door’.

She left the toilet in such a state that when she came out, ‘it was deemed necessary to close it for the rest of the flight’.

Meanwhile McCarroll went to the front of the plane where she got hold of the intercom and was ‘screaming down it loudly’ to such an extent that the captain had to switch it off so that he could hear incoming transmissions from air traffic control.

The lawyer described how McCarroll ‘punched a crew member to the throat’ and then went to the galley area at the rear of the plane where she assaulted two other members of the cabin crew, kicking and punching one in the forehead, stomach and leg and the other in the leg.

During the flight Heather Anne McCarroll (pictured) went to the toilet and while she was inside the cubicle, she could be heard ‘shouting sexual obscenities and kicking the door’

District Judge Nigel Broderick told McCarroll (pictured) he was minded to impose a deterrent sentence because ‘there are too many of these incidents’

At an earlier hearing McCarroll (pictured), from Cullybackey, Co Antrim, entered guilty pleas to four charges of common assault, a single offence of criminal damage, being drunk on a plane, endangering the safety of an aircraft, and behaving in a threatening, abusive or disorderly manner towards cabin crew

‘The cabin crew alerted the captain and the flight deck and he declared an emergency to try to land the aircraft as soon as possible,’ the court heard and the lawyer revealed his desperate staff ‘put out a call for assistance for any off duty police officer’ to help restrain the defendant.

Two off duty officers came forward and they held McCarroll in the back row of seats which had to be cleared because of her but ‘she continued to struggle’ and she assaulted a Good Samaritan who volunteered to help restrain her.

‘On arrival in Turkey the staff did attempt to have Turkish police deal with the matter but there were reportedly language difficulties between the crew and the Turkish authorities so they declined to deal with it,’ the lawyer told the court.

McCarroll was interviewed by the PSNI where she admitted being intoxicated but claimed she remember little of the incident due to the alcohol and two diazepam she had taken as ‘she’s a nervous flyer’.

‘She did express some remorse for what little she could remember,’ said the prosecutor, concluding that McCarroll had also assaulted other people ‘but they did not provide statements.’

On Tuesday, a prosecuting lawyer outlined how police were contacted by Jet2 staff four days after the incident which occurred on a flight to Antalya in Turkey. Pictured: Stock image of a Jet2 flight

On arrival in Turkey the staff did attempt to have Turkish police deal with the matter but there were reportedly language difficulties between the crew and the Turkish authorities. Pictured: Stock image of Turkish Police

Antrim Magistrates Court (pictured), sitting in Ballymena, heard that but for language difficulties Heather Anne McCarroll would have faced justice in a Turkish court

At the very outset of his impassioned plea in mitigation defence counsel Aaron Thompson conceded that ‘it’s an exceptionally serious matter’ to such an extent that the judge ‘and the public interest may well be leading to deterrent sentencing’.

As with every case however, he explained there is a background to it in that at the time McCarroll was involved in a controlling and coercive relationship with her ex-partner.

He was due to fly with her but due to his behaviour, he was not allowed to board the plane and before he left the airport, he took McCarroll’s diabetes medicines and blood testing kit.

Mr Thompson revealed that McCarroll has to an extent ‘already faced punishment’ in that she is currently suspended from her job as a social worker ‘and faces losing that employment’.

The court heard how McCarroll ‘punched a crew member to the throat’. Pictured: Stock image of plane interior

At one stage, McCarroll went to the toilet and while she was inside the cubicle, she could be heard ‘shouting sexual obscenities and kicking the door’

Meanwhile McCarroll went to the front of the plane where she got hold of the intercom and was ‘screaming down it loudly’ to such an extent that the captain had to switch it off

Highlighting that McCarroll’s case has received a lot of attention on media and social media, he said she is ‘totally and utterly ashamed by this and is mortified by her behaviour’.

‘Her behaviour in that aircraft was appalling, abhorrent and intolerable, she doesn’t hide from that,’ said Mr Thompson, but he pleaded with the judge not to jail her given the background of what happened at the airport and the alleged domestic abuse she was subjected to.

Praising the defence for the ‘eloquent and measured plea,’ DJ Broderick said while he accepted the background and personal mitigation, ‘clearly my view is that alcohol was a major factor and that can never be a defence’.

‘I have read the detailed reports and I have reflected carefully on all that has been said,’ the judge told McCarroll, ‘there are too many of these incidents, largely fuelled by alcohol but sometimes by the abuse of drugs but that’s no comfort to the cabin crew who have to deal with people or the passengers who have to put up with this behaviour.’

In addition to the four month jail sentence, McCaroll was also handed fines amounting to £300.

As McCarroll was being taken to the cells however, Mr Thompson asked for her to be freed on bail pending appeal and the judge allowed her to ‘go straight’ to the bail office and sign bail.

Her appeal is likely to be heard early next month.

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