An intoxicated air passenger has been jailed for launching a furious tirade at flight attendants after he was fired from his dream job and split with his wife.
Liam Preston had been offered the chance of an exotic new life in Jakarta but when he landed in Indonesia he discovered he had lost his passport. The 36-year-old told his new employer, was swiftly fired and was then turned around at the airport.
Preston had been offered the post after splitting with his wife but misplaced his passport during a connecting flight.
His employer was ‘unhappy’ with him losing his passport, so terminated the contract and the VISA leaving him having to get out of Jakarta with no money, the court heard.
Preston had been offered the post in Indonesia after splitting up his wife (pictured together in September 2016), but misplaced his passport during a connecting flight.
Preston had taken a job in Indonesia in a bid ‘to start again, get away and start a new life’
He was made to fly home via connections at Bangkok in Thailand then Mumbai, after his former spouse agreed to pay for the flight because he did not have enough money.
The 36-year-old had been set to start work at a conveyor company.
On his journey back to Britain from Mumbai, Preston got drunk in his seat then snapped at cabin crew when they confiscated his duty free Jack Daniel’s whisky.
Staff assured Preston he would get the bottle back when the plane landed but he kissed the biceps on his arms as a ‘demonstration of strength’ and warned: ‘I will smash your face in – I will kill you right now.’
Liam Preston, 36, has been jailed for six months
As the Jet Airways flight touched down in Manchester passengers and crew had to restrain Preston when he leapt from his seat and began flailing his arms around.
Security staff boarded the aircraft and found Preston lying on the floor and refusing to get to his feet.
He pretended to punch one guard, hugged and kissed him on the cheek then headbutted him and spat in his face.
Preston has two cautions for drunk and disorderly in 2002 and 2004 as well as a conviction for common assault on former partner and driving with excess alcohol in 2014, the court heard.
In mitigation, his defence lawyer David Farley said: “His life was something of a mess at this time. Mr Preston was coming back from Jacarta after taking up employment in that region.
Preston, from Corby in Northants, pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft, using threatening and abusive behaviour and assault by beating.
At Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester, the 36-year-old wept as he was locked up for six months.
The incident on board Flight 9W130 from Mumbai last November 29, began at 6am when Preston was heard to be singing loudly in his seat, the court heard.
Prosecutor Juliet Berry said Preston was asked to be quiet when his singing on the plane was disturbing other passengers.
Preston with his ex-wife Jackie, who gave him money to pay for his flight back to the UK
She said Preston then bought a bottle of duty free Jack Daniel’s – which passengers are not allowed to drink on the flight – but ripped a hole in the bag and began drinking it from the bottle.
Ms Berry said: ‘The crew told the defendant they were going to confiscate it and return it to him when the plane had landed.
‘He became agitated and some passengers intervened. He told the cabin members: ‘I will smash your face in and I will kill you right now’.
‘The defendant then kissed his muscles on his arms as a demonstration of his strength.
‘As the plane was taxiing the defendant was walking around the plane and began flailing his arms around, to the point he had to be restrained by passengers and crew. A member of the security staff was waiting and when he boarded and saw him was lying on the floor.
‘He asked the defendant if he was OK and the defendant said: ‘f**k off, who do you think you are, don’t you think you know I can smash you all over your face.’
‘The defendant struggled to get up from the floor and it was clear that he was being abusive and obnoxious.
‘He appeared to punch the man, but then kissed him on the cheek and hugged him. He then head butted him in the face. The defendant then spat at him and some of the spittle went into his mouth.
Liam Preston, right, with former middleweight boxing champion Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan
‘The security staff member was shocked and disgusted by the defendant’s behaviour and said being spat at was particularly unpleasant.
‘Cabin crew said the defendant’s behaviour caused distress to them and to other passengers.
‘They added that the defendant had used the toilet and left it in an unpleasant state which caused further distress to other passengers.’
In mitigation for Preston, defence lawyer David Farley said: ‘His life was something of a mess.
‘The month before, his wife left him and he had taken up employment in the region of Jakarta in order to start again and get away and start a new life.
‘But he had lost his passport between the connecting flight and his employer was unhappy with this, so terminated the contract and his VISA, leaving him having to get out of Jakarta. He had no money.
‘He couldn’t get home from Jakarta Airport due to limited funds, so his ex wife paid for a cheap flight home which took him 24 hours.
‘He had not eaten for the last few days and the four beers he had, had a distinct effect on him. He felt his life was over. He had no job, no money and his wife had left him.’
Mr Farley said his client remembered nothing of the incident, adding: ‘He is very fragile. He has faced up to the fact his marriage won’t be rekindled.’
Judge Bernard Lever told Preston: ‘You were thoroughly obnoxious and making a nuisance of yourself.
‘The courts do have duty to deter those who give concern and anxiety to other people on a flight.
‘I can see the real evidence on your face that you have dealt with significant problems but I consider that your prolonged and serious behaviour can only have an impact on the message to the public at large – that this sort of behaviour won’t be tolerated.’