Sheffield 'gangster' jailed for drunken threats to passengers on EasyJet flight
A man from Sheffield who claimed he was a gangster and threatened to knock out a fellow passenger on a flight from Spain has been jailed.
Jay Hammill, of Tideswell Road, Firth Park, told fellow passenger John Wilkinson he would hospitalise him during his drunken outbust on a flight from Barcelona to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
The 33-year-old goaded his victim, who was sitting with his girlfriend Martha Ballart, by calling him a series of offensive names.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that Hammill offered to fight Mr Wilkinson in a car park of his choosing, but warned him thugs would arrive with guns and knives.
And when Mr Wilkinson's frightened partner burst into tears, callous Hammill taunted: "Look, I've made your b***h cry."
He was arrested when the flight landed at Liverpool.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard Hammill was also aggressive towards EasyJet staff on February 25.
He was placed next to Mr Wilkinson and his partner and advised by cabin crew he wasn't allowed to move seats because the plane was full.
Andrew Downey, prosecuting, said Mr Wilkinson suspected Hammill was drunk.
He said: "Mr Wilkinson says he called him a 'd***head', and 'a***hole' and went on to say 'I'm travelling with my cousin and I will kick your teeth in'."
When the flight took off, Mr Hammill allegedly paid another passenger to swap seats, so he could sit in the emergency exit row.
Mr Downey said: "On the final descent, cabin crew asked Mr Hammill to return to his seat, where Mr Wilkinson noticed he had dried blood on his hands.
"Mr Hammill then asked him if he was 'still up for the car park' and said 'I will put you in hospital and I will even drive you there'.
"The captain contacted the police when the plane landed. When police tried to arrest Mr Hammill he pretended to have a seizure on the floor and told them he was disabled."
Mr Wilkinson told the court Hammill ‘looked dirty in appearance’ was slurring his words.
He said: "Prior to landing he was asked to go back to his seat. He had a can of Heineken and blood on his hands and then said that was going to be my blood."
The victim, who said felt ‘nervous’ and ‘anxious’ during the incident, said Hammill boasted he ‘would get his lads to meet me in the car park and they would have guns and knives’.
Mr Wilkinson added: "He said he would drive me to hospital and would drive me there in his BMW. He was also digging me in the arm with his elbow."
Miss Ballart told the court Hammill took pleasure in the fact she was crying, after offering her boyfriend a fight and ‘saying he was a gangster’.
She said: "Because we were landing I was nervous, so I got upset. Then he went to John 'look I've made your b***h cry'.
"He was jabbing John in the arm then he started insulting me. He was touching John. I was scared of the reaction."
EasyJet flight attendant, Leah Albiston, said she had dealt with ‘disruptive passengers’ before, but never ‘felt that scared’.
The flight attendant said ‘frightened’ passengers rang call bells alerting staff to his behaviour.
Ms Albiston said: "The captain came out to make the announcement that no one was allowed to leave the plane as the police were on their way.
"Staff and ground staff were blocking the exit so he couldn't get off, so he (Hammill) told us to move or he'll 'f***ing smash our face in'.
"When the police came he started rolling round on the floor and pretending to have a fit."
On bodycam footage recorded by police officers called to the scene, Hammill said: "I'm getting angry, let me walk on my own and I won't be a problem."
He claimed to have only drunk two beers, before bragging: "I grew up in Yorkshire. I drink 20 pints a night, but why is two pints on the plane an issue?"
Hammill was found guilty in his absence of being drunk in an aircraft and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.
Deputy District Judge Phil Barnes, who jailed Hammill for six months, said: "I have absolutely no doubt in my mind the man shown to be in that video was drunk.
"I can conclude with ease that the defendant is guilty of the first offence. Mr Wilkinson was a calm and compelling witness and Hammill is ultimately guilty of the second offence."
Copy: Liverpool Echo