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Holiday-jet drunk jailed for attacking passenger.

A drunken airline passenger who declared his love for the captain of the plane before headbutting a fellow traveller was jailed yesterday.

The early morning flight from Birmingham International Airport to Malta had to be diverted to Milan when Anthony Psaila began lashing out and "foaming at the mouth".

He had drunk half a bottle of whisky and several cans of strong lager to calm his nerves before boarding the Air 2000 Boeing 757. His son, Roy Psaila, joined in the mid-air fracas, attacking another passenger.

At Warwick Crown Court yesterday, Anthony Psaila (61), of Ashorne Close, Redditch, was jailed for six months with a six-month suspended sentence to run concurrently, after he admitted affray and being drunk on board an airline on April 7.

Roy Psaila (27), of Clive Road, Redditch, admitted affray and was sentenced to the same term.

Mr Simon Ward, prosecuting, said Psaila snr became angry after being told by cabin staff he could not drink the cans of strong lager he had brought on to the plane.

"It was apparent that Mr Psaila was behaving in a very agitated manner and he suddenly shouted 'I want to see the captain, I love him'," said Mr Ward. "It appears he was striking out at the walls of the aircraft and the trolleys carrying the food."

Retired prison officer Mr Raymond Perks, aged 62, offered to help cabin staff who were struggling to contain Psaila snr but he was headbutted.

A second passenger, Mr Robert Bayliss, also a prison officer, intervened but Psaila's son then attacked him.

Mr Ward said Anthony Psaila was foaming at the mouth and behaving in a "peculiar way", laughing and crying.

Italian police arrested the father and son when the plane landed at Malpensa airport, Milan.

Mr Perks was treated for bruising to his face and had to have a tooth removed. Mr Bayliss needed six stitches for a cut lip.

Judge Richard Cole told the pair the offence was "most unpleasant and disgraceful".

"Behaviour such as this to happen on an aeroplane must terrify people who are not keen on flying," he said.

Mr Michael Elsom, for Psaila snr, said he had been frightened of flying and had drunk the whisky before take off to calm his nerves.

Mr Adam Farrer, for Psaila jnr, said: "He accepts that he went too far and misjudged the situation."

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 17, 1998
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