A man who bit a police officer after being arrested for shouting racial abuse on a plane has been convicted in court.
Officers responded to reports of a disruptive passenger on the EasyJet flight inbound from Faro to Gatwick Airport on 18 May.
Having been asked to sit down and put his seatbelt on as the aircraft prepared to land, the defendant became aggressive towards cabin crew.
He also used several expletives, of which some were racially aggravated.
Police attended the aircraft as it came to a standstill and the defendant was identified as Kieran Croxley, 44, a labourer, of Howell Walk, Southwark, London.
The officers asked him to follow them, at which point he again became abusive and started swearing.
As they attempted to arrest him, Croxley bit one officer’s hand and dug his nails into the arm of another, causing the skin to break.
And while being transported into custody, he attempted to bite a third officer.
He was subsequently arrested and charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress; behaving in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards aircraft crew; and three counts of assault on an emergency worker.
At Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 26 September, Croxley pleaded guilty to all five offences.
He was sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay a £900 fine, £450 costs and a total of £325 in compensation to the officers he assaulted.
Croxley was arrested as part of Project Disrupt – an annual campaign run by Sussex Police to combat drunken and disruptive behaviour.
You can find out more about the operation here.
Inspector James Biggs, of the Gatwick Prevention Team, said:
“This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable.
“No member of the aircraft crew, nor their passengers, should have to experience such abuse.
“Nor should any emergency worker expect to be assaulted for simply carrying out their duties.
“This case should serve as a reminder to passengers of their responsibilities before they board an aircraft.
“Incidents of drunken and disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated, and anyone who compromises this will be dealt with robustly.”