A man who bit a police officer after being arrested for shouting racial abuse on a plane has been convicted in court, Sussex Police said.
Officers responded to reports of a disruptive passenger on the easyJet flight inbound from Faro to Gatwick Airport on 18 May, a spokesman said.
Having been asked to sit down and put his seatbelt on as the aircraft prepared to land, Keiran Croxley, 44, a labourer, of Howell Walk, Southwark, London, became aggressive towards cabin crew, according to the spokesman.
He added: “[Croxley] also used a number of expletives, of which some were racially aggravated.
“Police attended the aircraft as it came to a standstill.”
The officers asked him to follow them, at which point he again became abusive and started swearing, Sussex Police said.
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.
While being transported into custody, he attempted to bite a third officer.
The spokesman added: “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 September 26, Croxley pleaded guilty to all five offences, police said.
The spokesman added: “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.
Inspector James Biggs, of the Gatwick Prevention Team, said: “This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable.
“No member of aircraft crew, nor their passengers, should have to experience such abuse.”
Emergency service workers should not expect to be assaulted for ‘simply carrying out their duties’ according to inspector Biggs.
He added: “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.”