Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Rangers fan charged over flight chaos

A pensioner has appeared in court charged with hurling drunken abuse at a member of the cabin crew on a flight from Glasgow to Belfast at the weekend.

William White (67) was arrested by armed police on Sunday after a stewardess on board the Flybe flight to Belfast City Airport was verbally abused.

It is believed the man was among a group of Rangers supporters making their way back from Glasgow to Belfast after Sunday’s Old Firm clash with Celtic.

The flight attendant and a colleague were so badly traumatised by the incident they were unable to continue with their duties.

White spent two nights in police cells before being taken to Paisley Sheriff Court in Scotland yesterday, where he faced a number of charges.

It is alleged he behaved in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards a member of the crew of the aircraft.

He is also accused of assaulting, resisting, obstructing, molesting or hindering a constable in the execution of his duty or a person assisting a constable in the execution of his duty.

White pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on bail to stand trial at a later date.

One man who was on the flight described the scenes he witnessed as “disgraceful”.

He said: “It was quite clear they had had quite a lot to drink.

“There were a lot of comments and she (the flight attendant) became quite visibly shaken.

“She went to the cockpit to get assistance. She came back and asked him to leave.

“A lot of the fans left their seats and went down to argue with her and even pushed by her and went into the cockpit to discuss things with the crew on board. The police were called and at least two policemen came on board.”

A spokeswoman for Flybe said the flight captain was forced to call for police back-up.

She said: “The captain took the decision to call the police to remove the gentleman as it was felt his behaviour was threatening to both the crew and other passengers.

“Flybe operates a zero-tolerance policy with regard to any behaviour which might compromise safety.”

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