American student, 21, who bit, spat at and drunkenly attacked BA crew and passengers forcing pilot to turn around the flight from Heathrow to Dallas is jailed for six months
- Jeffrey ‘Tanner’ Libby, 21, had been dumped by text and downed litre of Bacardi
- He first started punching seat in front, attacked BA cabin crew and bit passenger
- Pilot forced to divert Dallas flight back to Heathrow because of chaos on board
Jeffrey ‘Tanner’ Libby, 21, (pictured) had just been dumped by text when he grabbed a litre of Bacardi and attacked BA cabin crew and staff
A Texan student who single-handedly diverted a transatlantic jet after downing a litre of Bacardi and attacking BA staff and passengers has been jailed for six months.
Jeffrey ‘Tanner’ Libby, 21, had just been dumped by text and started drinking heavily when the flight back to the US hit turbulence shortly after leaving Heathrow on December 17 last year.
Libby spat at people, assaulted a BA air hostess and bit the hand of a passenger who tried to restrain him on a packed flight to America.
As the fracas ensued the pilot was forced to turn back to London and the Boeing 777 jettisoned 20 tonnes of fuel costing the airline hundreds of thousands of pounds before landing.
Hundreds of innocent passengers were also delayed as they tried to get home to the US for Christmas.
The trouble began when Libby began to punch and kick the seat of a passenger in front of him, which he believed was being moved backwards into him.
Members of the aircrew then came to Libby to ask him to calm down and his drunken behaviour was caught on camera by shocked passengers.
Libby, from Dallas, Texas, admitted three counts of assault occasioning bodily harm and one count of drunkenness on an aircraft and was jailed for six months at Isleworth Crown Court.
Olu Phillips, prosecuting, told Isleworth Crown Court: ‘He was speaking increasingly loudly and swearing. He reached across the aisle to a female passenger, grabbing her by the arm and squeezing it.
‘She is the victim of the first assault. Members of the crew then came over to him’.
Passengers and air crew battle detain drunken Libby who grabbed, spat at and bit people on board
Libby began to spit and bite at crew members and passengers as they attempted to restrain him.
One passenger, Stephen Mumford, attempted to restrain Libby by holding the Texan’s head.
One of his fingers slid into Libby’s mouth and the journalism student bit him.
Libby, a student at Texas Christian University, then squeezed the arm of Samantha Jackson, a BA air hostess, as she attempted to restrain him with Mr Mumford.
The pilot made the decision to turn the plane back to London with eight hours of journey time to Dallas left.
The Boeing 777 was forced to jettison 20 tonnes of fuel costing the airline hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Michael Wolkind, QC, defending, said Libby had recently been dumped by his girlfriend of one year via text message.
He was flying home early from a trip to London to receive treatment for a skin condition.
Libby’s parents sat in the public gallery and sobbed loudly throughout the proceedings.
The BA pilot considered the behaviour by Libby (pictured) so dangerous he had to turn his plane around as it crossed the Atlantic costing more than £100,000 in fuel
The son appeared via videolink from Wormwood Scrubs where he has attended alcoholics anonymous.
Mr Wolkind said if given a suspended sentence Libby would attend a course at the ‘Texas Adult and Teen Challenge’.
But Judge Robin Johnson said Libby had to go to jail for six months.
He said: ‘Whether you were drunk when you boarded the plane or you became drunk doesn’t matter.
‘Nearly 200 passengers were severely inconvenienced the week before Christmas.
‘On top of that those who behave in a drunk fashion not only are they dangerous, they frighten a lot of people.
‘Against your personal mitigation it is my duty to state unequivocally that this behaviour can not be tolerated.
‘You assaulted a woman for no reason at all.’
Libby, from Dallas, Texas, admitted three counts of assault occasioning bodily harm and one count of drunkenness on an aircraft.
A British Airways spokesman said the sort of behaviour the man exhibited would ‘never be tolerated’ and that customers should never ‘suffer from any sort of abuse.’