A drunk dad-of-three who terrified other passengers onboard a plane has been banned from Ryanair for life. John Medway, who had been travelling home from a family holiday, later described himself as only being “five out ten” drunk – but the court heard that he had downed three quarters of a litre bottle of vodka. Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that as well as being banned from Ryanair flights, the 32-year-old may also be barred from the city’s John Lennon Airport.
District Judge Wendy Lloyd told him, “You made a decision to drink far too much knowing you are on a flight. No-one could go anywhere, people were stuck in a tin box high in the sky and unable to get away from you,” she told him.
“It must have been a terrifying experience for the people on that plane, the staff and other passengers. Even when you had been handcuffed you continued with your dreadful behaviour and were warned numerous times and staff on board gave you every opportunity to calm down.
“Your suggestion you were only five out of ten drunk to the probation service is clearly nonsense as you were clearly drunk and even now trying to blame other passengers from Manchester and the police for your behaviour. You do not seem to fully take on board that all this was due to your bad behaviour.
“You have a number of previous convictions including drink and disorderly in 2019 which suggests you have an on-going issue with alcohol. You have worked as a HGV driver for some time – for someone who has a drink problem that is rather concerning.”
Judge Lloyd said that the probation report said that “despite his 32 years and is in full time employment you are in many ways an immature man and not able to take responsibility for your own behaviour.
“You certainly need to do that, you have a wife who is experiencing some health issues and you have three children.”
She told him that society cannot tolerate the sort of behaviour he had shown on the plane. “One can only imagine how others onboard that flight must have felt.”
The judge said that a 20 week jail sentence was appropriate but as the probation service felt they could work with him in a positive way she would suspend it for 12 months. She also ordered him to carry out 240 hours unpaid work and 30 hours rehabilitation actives and to pay costs totalling £274.
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“This is your opportunity to turn your life around. You are a man of contrasts – working hard, a family man and time from time behaving ridiculously and drink seems to be behind all these incidents.”
Medway, of Breck Road, Poulton, Wallasey, Wirral, had pleaded guilty to entering a flight when drunk.
Laura Simpson, prosecuting, had told the court that the incident happened on January 12 this year on a flight from Fuerteventura to Liverpool. The manager of the cabin crew told how an hour into the flight a passenger told her how there had been an altercation between Medway and his wife, who were with their three children.
The arguing couple were separated and for ten minutes Medway was calm but the manager then had to speak to him again as his behaviour was becoming worse, said Miss Simpson.
“A passenger notified her that he had been drinking duty-free and a litre bottle of vodka he had was three-quarters empty. He agreed to calm down but a short time later he was standing up and being abusive to other passengers, shouting at them and provoking them into a response. He was unable to stay still.”
Miss Simpson said that the manager told the captain and it was decided that as the plane was only 45 minutes from Liverpool they would continue the flight and not divert.
The manager told how passengers were upset by Medway’s behaviour and in 14 years working as cabin crew “this was one of the worst experiences I have had. He was drunk, aggressive and threatening other passengers and staff. It was very disturbing.”
The police repeatedly tried to calm him down when the plane landed and he was arrested and had to be helped off the plane as he was unable to hold onto the handrails.