Mum who downed two pints before swearing at passengers on Ryanair flight spared jail

A mum who downed two pints before swearing at passengers and crew onboard a Ryanair flight has been spared jail.

Lyndsey Fitzsimmons, 39, from Cheshire, swore and rowed with passengers and crew during a Ryanair flight from Lanzarote to Manchester in February.

Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court heard how the pilot was forced to alert police 17 minutes before the plane was due to land at 10.10pm. She had to be moved from her seat to the rear of the aircraft.

The flight was met by six officers who escorted a “stumbling” mum-of-one off the plane and into the waiting police van.

Mr Brian Berlyne, prosecuting, said Lyndsey accepted drinking two pints of lager before boarding the plane and taking two diazepam tablets.

He said she suffered from anxiety and had a “fear of flying”, but there was no evidence of the “precise amount” of alcohol she had consumed.

“She may have underestimated the effect of the alcohol that was consumed,” he said.

“Passengers in front of her had complained of her loud volume while she was speaking.

“There was an irate response, resulting in the crew becoming involved.”

He said the police officers had smelled alcohol on her breath and her speech was “slurred and loud”.

When passengers told her to leave the plane, he said she responded with “verbal abuse”.

Police were eventually able to lead her off the aircraft, but she “stumbled” before getting in the back of their van.

Lyndsey pleaded guilty to a charge of being drunk in an aircraft at a previous hearing in May.

CCTV played to the court showed her arguing with officers and telling them: “I didn’t do nothing wrong.”

Mother-of-one Lyndsey sobbed as the footage was played and Paul Wood, defending, said six officers had only been called to the plane because it had been graded a “Level 1” incident.

They believed it was the most serious type, he said, but it was the least serious and only concerned “verbal aggression”.

Mr Wood said Lyndsey suffered from severe anxiety, depression and a fear of flying and it wasn’t a case where she had “deliberately consumed” alcohol from duty free in order to get drunk.

“The level of risk was low, in my opinion, and it was set against the background of her mental health issues,” he said.

He added that Lyndsey was a person of “positive good character” who cared for her autistic son and he struggled at school.

The judge Recorder Paul Reid QC said the courts treated cases of drunkenness on board aircraft “very seriously” and he’d considered whether to impose an immediate custodial sentence.

Instead, and “on balance”, he handed the mum a three-month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

“Your behaviour was at the bottom end of drunkenness and there was no question of you being physically aggressive or being physically restrained,” he said.

He added that she was a person of good character and was “very remorseful” and he’d taken into her account her mental health issues and being a carer for her son.

Lyndsey cried as she walked free from the dock.