A passenger who repeatedly abused staff on a flight from Gatwick Airport to St. Lucia has been jailed.
Uche Ezedinma had to be physically restrained and caused the Virgin Atlantic aircraft to be diverted to the Azores due to his persistently poor behaviour.
The 36-year-old spat at a member of staff, punched the overhead storage and threatened numerous other cabin crew. He also smoked a cigarette in the toilet, which is not permitted in any aircraft.
Ezedinma was removed from the plane by Portuguese officers, and the flight continued after a significant delay and refuelling.
After it was discovered he was released by local officials after only a two-hour administrative delay, Gatwick Police carried out an investigation and gained sufficient evidence to present to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Ezedinma was subsequently charged with being drunk in an aircraft and negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person therein.
He was sentenced to a total of 14 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge.