Man jailed for homophobic outburst at cabin crew

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A NEWTON man has been jailed after he hurled a torrent of abuse at cabin crew and fellow passengers on a packed holiday plane.

John Hawkins, who was with his children on the Thomas Cook flight, flew into an abusive rage while his young daughter sobbed.

The 32-year-old lost his temper when a man in a nearby seat on the flight from Tenerife, told him to mind his language.

He became aggressive, and shouted insults - directing gay jibes at male cabin crew.

He eventually had to be restrained. The pilot felt he had no alternative but to return to Tenerife, at a cost of £12,500 to the airline.

Jailing him for eight months, Judge Jonathan Geake told him: “Your behaviour was grotesque, and completely outrageous.

“Your treatment of fellow passengers and the way you hurled offensive homophobic comments at cabin crew, and generally ranted, was inexcusable.”

Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court was told that Hawkins, of Maple Avenue, Newton le Willows, was involved in a row with another passenger who objected to his bad language in front of youngsters on the plane, and he was asked to calm down.

He was heard to say: “I don’t give a **** about children, I’ve got children of my own.”

David Lees, prosecuting, said he continued to be abusive and cabin crew were called to deal with him. Hawkins refused to calm down.

Mr Lees said the captain of the aircraft felt it was necessary to turn the plane around.

Robert Haygarth defending, said his client, who had pleaded guilty to an offence of endangering an aircraft, had suffered medical problems following an accident leading to pain and reduced mobility.

He said: “While his pain is not an excuse, it has probably lowered his threshold of tolerance and patience.”

The court was told that Hawkins had been in trouble with the law before.

Judge Geake told him: “Your medical problems have not stopped you committing criminal offences.”