'Thirsty' Woman Who Attacked Three British Airways Flight Attendants After Being Denied Six Bloody Marys Was On Her Way To Rehab
A "thirsty" mother-of-two who attacked three flight attendants after being denied six Bloody Marys on a British Airways flight was on her way to rehab in South Africa.
Emma Langford had to be handcuffed and strapped to her seat after the rampage which left cabin crew shocked and the aircraft galley littered with broken plates and glasses.
The 47-year-old was traveling from Heathrow Airport in London to Cape Town with her son on December 6 to check herself into an alcohol rehab center.
Isleworth Crown Court on Friday heard how she had "crashed catastrophically" into heavy drinking after the breakdown of her marriage and fears she would see her children put into foster care.
During the sentencing hearing a judge heard how, just 35 minutes after take-off, Langford approached members of the airplane's staff saying she was "thirsty" and demanded a huge amount of alcohol.
After being given one, she returned to her seat but came back and launched a tirade of abuse - asking staff if they could afford her £8,000 (~$10,500) seats and calling two female stewards fat.
She then punched customer service manager Matthew Richardson before punching another member of cabin crew, Poppy Haines.
She later shoved a third member of staff, Monique Fogel, against the aircraft door before throwing a tray of plates and glasses to the floor - with one of the shards cutting Fogel's leg.
Prosecutor Douglas Adams said:
"About 30 minutes after take off the defendant came to the galley and she raised her voice and was agitated. She was saying that she had been on the plane for ages and was thirsty and wanted a drink."
"The manager asked the customer not to speak to his crew in such a fashion. He could smell alcohol on her and so asked if she had been drinking, but she said no. He gave her a bottle of water and she went back to her seat."
"A few moments later she approached him again with what he said was 'her chest puffed out.' She was saying she had paid £4,000 for a seat and £8,000 for two and asked if he could afford that amount, but he said he would not comment."
"He was becoming increasingly concerned about the defendant's behavior. She was asked to calm down and return to her seat but she proceeded to run at a member of staff and chased them away. She grabbed the member of staff by both of her shoulders and pushed her into the door."
"She was again told to sit down and calm down but at this point she tipped out a tray of plates on the floor and some glasses. As the crockery was breaking it caused a small cut on another member of staff."
"After this she approached the manager again and cornered him and he put his hand out to protect himself but she struck him two more times. In relation of one of the other members of cabin crew she struck her a number of times too."
"They restrained her and gave her a violation notice to which she said 'blah, blah, blah.' She was later carried out using the approved techniques but she struggled and the staff were helped by an off duty police officer."
Adam Gray / SWNS
A statement from Haines, read to the court, said:
"Miss Langford demanded I give her six Bloody Marys and I told her I would be serving her the one drink for now. She kicked me in the back of the legs and said 'your arse is massive.'"
"She called me chubby and fat arse. It was massively offensive and hurt my confidence. I felt humiliated in front of the whole cabin."
Guy Wyatt, Langford's defense attorney, said:
"It's striking that she was traveling to South Africa to book herself into residential rehabilitation. She knew she needed it, she made enquiries and had been told that this particular clinic was best and was on her way."
"She was going through a difficult time because of a few things. The consequences of the breakdown of her marriage, anxieties of whether the children would be living with her or not."
"Those anxieties got the better of her and she crashed catastrophically into heavy drinking – something that she had done before."
He told the court how she had been in rehab and has stayed sober since her release with the help of a 24-hour live-in sobriety companion and a bracelet which monitors her blood alcohol levels.
"She can report that, since coming out of residential rehabilitation, progress has been pleasing, and the defendant has remained sober."
In addition to the sober companion, she is attending regular alcoholics anonymous meetings twice a week.
When talking about the SCRAM bracelet that monitors her blood alcohol levels, Wyatt said:
"I cannot share with you that report because that bracelet has been - is being used as part of the process in the family court."
But Judge Nicholas Wood decided to delay sentencing to get ahold of the reports from the bracelet and "other findings" from the family court.
"While I am loathe to adjourn the case, I would like to see firsthand, if possible, the findings and reports in respect of that matter."
Langford, of Old Baising, Hertfordshire, England, pleaded guilty to three charges of assault, one of criminal damage, and one of being drunk on an aircraft, and behaving in a threatening, abusive, insulting and disorderly manner towards cabin crew.
She will next appear at the same court on March 6.