Skip to comments.Tsunami diplomat went 'berserk' on plane after binge
Posted on 01/17/2006 12:57:21 PM PST by Shermy
A British diplomat went berserk after a drinking binge on his flight home from tsunami aid work in Thailand, a court heard today.
Colonel Peter Roberts, the British defence attaché in Thailand, hurled obscene abuse at other passengers in business class, threatened to kill cabin staff, grabbed at women, and struggled free of the plastic ties binding his wrists and ankles to subdue him, it was alleged.
He was arrested when his flight landed at Heathrow and then tried to punch and kick police officers, Isleworth Crown Court in London heard.
As fellow passengers and cabin staff tried to restrain him during the Etihad Airways flight, Roberts was said to have shouted obscenities and demanded: "Do you know who I am? Im the head of the British Government in Thailand and youre treating me like this."
Colonel Roberts had boarded flight EY303 from Abu Dhabi on February 17 last year and was due to give a presentation on the tsunami when he got back, the court heard. He denied a charge of being drunk on an aircraft. The court heard he had been taking the antidepressant drug seroxat, which should not be taken with alcohol.
Gareth Rees, QC, prosecuting, said that Colonel Roberts had been drinking wine on his previous connecting flight from Bangkok to Abu Dhabi, and whisky in the airport. Once aboard the London-bound plane he had drunk two or three of the small bottles of wine served by airlines, followed by three Black Label whiskies and some port.
Kevin McGuire, who sat next to him, said he was initially pleasant. "It soon became obvious he was an important man in a very important position. He said he would soon be making a presentation about the recent tsunami in Asia.
"He showed me some pictures from his folder about the tsunami which I found quite disturbing. For lunch he had drunk a couple of bottles of wine, some port and some whisky but continued to be politely sociable."
Later, Roberts started grabbing the arms of passing cabin crew and asking for more whisky, Mr McGuire said, and he seemed to become more inebriated. Soon he began getting up and talking to other passengers and crew.
"He told me he had been speaking to an African woman and was a bit concerned because he thought she might be important and married to a king and her son a prince. He thought he might have said something unfortunate," said Mr McGuire.
"He began rocking back and forth as if in a rage and was also crying. Then he fell asleep but people were looking."
Later he started mumbling and swearing and then got up and grabbed the African woman and swore at her.
Mr McGuire said: "I elbowed him in the face and put him in a headlock. I asked for more help which was given by other passengers. We managed to get plastic restraints on his wrists and ankles...
"He was by now shouting all the swear words imaginable. I kept my right arm on his wrist and there then followed some 90 minutes of threats and abuse. Women and children were moved to other parts of the aircraft and men moved in.
"My impression was that the man seemed to be both angry and terrified. Although he had drunk alcohol, there seemed to be some other factor driving him."
Captain Idris Hansen Bin Noh, the captain of the Airbus A330, which was full, said that as the plane was over Belgium he was informed by his cabin manager that a passenger was "out of control" .
As he wrestled with bad weather conditions nearing Heathrow, the cabin manager had to enter the flight deck six times because of the problem with Roberts.
One stewardess told Roberts to "chill out" but was told to go away because she was Australian, the court heard.
A passenger, who worked as a manager for Etihad, said: "He started to whisper into my wifes ear asking her out to dinner.
"He was getting louder and louder. His behaviour was getting worse, the language was appalling. A gentleman managed to get him sat down but he got up again and got more abusive and refused to sit down. The crew tried to restrain him but he struggled violently. He then became very, very foulmouthed.
"He got out of the restraints and had to be restrained again. He was threatening to kill anyone that touched him."
Roseanne Montero, a galley attendant, said that she found Colonel Roberts sitting on a seat reserved for cabin crew. "He was swaying and fell on to the floor. I could see (his bad language) was scaring the other passengers near him.
"I saw him lean across and try to grab a female passenger near him, and I saw him trying to grab a woman with a small boy about 2 years old and the woman and the small boy looked terrified. This was accompanied by shouts of: F*** off, f*** off. His behaviour was appalling.
"I warned him if he did not behave he would be restrained and that the police would be called on landing. He then went mad and tried to get up.
"We got the plastic restraining strips and wrapped them round his wrists. We applied three pairs but he escaped after a few minutes and we had to get more and apply them to his wrists and feet."
Colonel Roberts, 51, of Passfield, Hants, allegedly told a male member of the cabin crew: "Im going to kill you."
Another passenger described seeing Roberts hitting the man next to him with an open hand.
The plane landed at Heathrow at about 5.30pm and taxied to its gate where police officers came aboard. Pc Steven Jones described how as the doors opened Roberts threatened to fight them, shouting: "F****** come on, f****** come on."
The officer said: "There was a strong smell of alcohol, his speech was slurred and he was drunk. His hands and feet were tied together with plastic ties." Roberts struggled and when they arrived at Heathrow Police Station he refused to get out of the van and threw a punch at an officer, Pc Jones said. After he had been walked the 10-feet into the station he kicked the officer on his right leg, Pc Jones said.
"He was still struggling as we took the handcuffs off and we had to withdraw quickly. In an upstairs cell he began to kick out and had to be stopped from kicking out at myself and other officers."
The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.
If there's a wilder airrage incident I certainly haven't heard about it.
I love the word "berserk."
A sign of the end of the world - A Brit who can't hold his boozes.
Ah, yes...the anthem of politicians worldwide!
Ah, he does this all the time at the family reunion, he's mostly harmless.
Dangerous to get between a full blown alchy and his next drink.
Geez! Sounds like a guy I had to deal with on Shore Patrol one time in Naples....
Whiskeys with Port chasers. Is there a name for that?
this guy spent too much time in Patpong or Sukhumvit, LOL.
There seems to be a weird reaction some people ahve with booze and the lower pressure atmosphere in airliners. Otherwise normal folk just go psycho, and when brought back down return to normal. Bizarre.
This is pretty dang funny play-by-play!
A quart of Jack Daniels and two Thai hookers in a vat of Tiger Balm caused him to go into sensory overload. It happens to the best of us.
> If there's a wilder airrage incident I certainly haven't heard about it.
Well, there was the "well-respected businessman" who went buggo and dropped trou and pooped on the drinks cart. *That* must've been special.
When dips go wild. Gotta love it
Look for many, many more of these incidents to be highlighted in papers in the next few years. The world media has decided it wants drinking on planes banned. And they will get their wish.
If I had two bottles of wine with port and whiskey for lunch I'd be politely passed out.
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