Drunk couple who downed duty-free vodka on Thomas Cook flight were separated by cabin crew after passengers feared they would ‘punch the glass’ out of plane’s windows
- James Petford and Margaret McGuigan were caught downing vodka on flight
- One nervous passenger was certain they ‘might punch the glass out’ of window
- Admitted being drunk on aircraft at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court yesterday
- Couple apologise via lawyer as one says it’s ‘not what I was brought up to do’
James Petford and Margaret McGuigan leave Birmingham Magistrates’ Court yesterday
A drunk couple terrified passengers on a Thomas Cook flight to Egypt so much so that one witness said she thought they might ‘punch the glass’ out of the aircraft window.
James Petford, 39, and Margaret McGuigan, 38, of Kings Norton, Birmingham, were separated on the packed flight after they were caught downing vodka from their duty free stash and causing mayhem.
The pair yesterday admitted being drunk on an aircraft on May 15 this year at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard their behaviour was so frightening that one nervous passenger who had not flown since the 9/11 terror attacks was certain that the couple ‘might punch the glass out’ of a window.
Both admitted having an alcoholic drink before boarding the aircraft but were spotted by staff drinking from their own bottle of duty free vodka at the start of the five-and-half-hour flight to Egypt.
Cabin crew confiscated the alcohol and asked the pair to stop drinking.
But a short time later staff were alerted by passengers to a row in which McGuigan, a full time carer to her mother, had ‘struck her partner in the face’.
Petford, 39, and McGuigan, 38, were separated on the packed flight after they were caught downing vodka from their duty free stash and causing mayhem
Magistrates heard that airline crew asked McGuigan to move seats repeatedly but she refused and at one stage shouted she was ‘not f***ing moving’.
Ros Butler, prosecuting, told the hearing that crew moved Petford, a former railway engineer and manager for High Speed 2, but he ‘became abusive to staff’.
She said: ‘He was seen to roll a cigarette and light it but it was taken off him by staff and extinguished in a glass of water.
‘Staff saw he had a bottle of Captain Morgan’s rum in his bag and then it was noticed that he had soiled himself and had also been sick all over the seat where he had been sitting.
‘Despite this he continued to be abusive and he had to be restrained in order to put his seatbelt on to keep him in his seat.’
Miss Butler added: ‘Miss McGuigan continued to swear loudly and staff tried to calm her down. She continually stood up despite the seatbelt sign being on.’
Magistrates heard that airline crew on the Thomas Cook flight asked McGuigan to move seats repeatedly but she refused and at one stage shouted she was ‘not f***ing moving’
The court also heard that upon landing, the duo had another argument with each other but were separated.
Petford had to be escorted by a security officer as he was struggling to walk due to intoxication.
Mr Newport, defending, explained to the court that the couple had little recollection of the shocking incident and neither normally drank very much.
He said: ‘I accept it is a very unpleasant situation. Both were under some stress and had booked a holiday. Both are nervous flyers.
‘It is fair to say having consumed a drink before boarding they were very nervous, began drinking from a bottle of vodka and then argued over a passport.
‘Mr Petford has said he is very embarrassed and doesn’t remember arriving in Egypt. He said ‘that’s not what I was brought up to do and it must have been frightening for the other passengers’. Miss McGuigan said she was very apologetic.’
Chair of the bench Anjana Aggarwal referred the case to Birmingham Crown Court to be heard on December 2, and both were given unconditional bail.
She said: ‘The fact that Mr Petford had to be restrained means it’s far too serious. It’s totally unacceptable behaviour. The issue is a temper that needs sorting out.’