Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Shamed couple caught in aircraft toilet at 30,000ft

Andrew Robinson A YOUNG mother assaulted an air stewardess after being caught in an aircraft toilet cubicle with a male passenger she had just met.Amber Staines, 29, was caught half-dressed at 30,000ft when cabin crew demanded she open a toilet door.She had disappeared into the cubicle with 36-year old Paul Cook for 20 minutes after they drank champagne on a holiday jet from Tenerife to Manchester.Cabin crew opened the door to find the red-faced couple inside.Staines slammed the door against a stewardess's hand, then shouted: "I need to get dressed. Just let me get ****ing dressed."

Police were waiting to arrest Staines and businessman Mr Cook as the plane touched down.Staines, of Moynihan Close, Harehills, Leeds, yesterday admitted common assault and disorderly behaviour and was ordered to complete 50 hours' community service.

The unemployed mother-of-one was also fined £50 and ordered to pay £50 to the stewardess.Magistrates in Sale, Greater Manchester, heard the incident occurred on a Boeing 757 late-night flight.The mother-of-one was sitting next to Mr Cook with passenger Jane Mulholland on the other side."Miss Mulholland said the couple were very intimate," said Cheryl Mottram, prosecuting."They were kissing and cuddling and at some point they requested a blanket. Their behaviour under the blanket caused Miss Mulholland some distress.

She was embarrassed by their activities. Drinks were consumed and half a bottle of champagne was bought and consumed" by the pair."At some point Miss Staines got up and went to the bathroom. Mr Cook followed, knocked on the door and went inside. Twenty minutes later there were four people stood outside and the call light was on."Air stewardess Nicola Hanson realised Staines and Mr Cook were in the cubicle.She opened the door, put her hand over the top to stop it closing but it was slammed shut three times, injuring her hand. Her behaviour was described as aggressive, disturbed and drunk.

Staines initially refused to give her details but later told police nothing happened be-tween them in the toilet and said: "My head is in bits."Bill Message, for Staines, suggested her drink may have been spiked in a hotel bar earlier."She is normally a shy person – not a party animal who goes binge drinking on holiday. She goes on holiday to relax in the normal way," he said.Mr Message said that as the flight had been delayed Staines went to a hotel where she had two single brandies and met Mr Cook."

At one point she left her drink on a table and went to the toilet. With the benefit of hindsight she suspects something might have been put in that..."Nothing serious happened in the toilet, just a bit of cuddling but nothing more than that. The champagne tipped her over into what is unacceptable behaviour.

She wants to apologise to cabin staff. She was very sorry."The court heard Staines had been depressed after her 10-year-old niece's death in a road crash three years ago.Police gave Mr Cook an £80 fixed penalty notice


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8:32 PM  

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