Toilet row led to plane rage headbutt terror

Mark Turner pleaded guilty to assault
Mark Turner pleaded guilty to assault
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A plane passenger sparked mid-air terror after he snapped and flew into a fit of rage as an aircraft was flying back to the UK.

Mark Turner leapt on his brother-in-law and savagely headbutted him, causing panic among passengers.

The pilot of the aircraft radioed in an emergency call and was told to take a direct flight to Blackpool Airport where the plane was met by police.

Turner, 32, pleaded guilty to assaulting a man in UK airspace.

He was bailed for pre-sentence reports with all options including custody to be considered and he will be sentenced at a later date.

District Judge Huw Edwards, sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court, told him: “The circumstances of this are extremely serious. It was in a place and one only had to imagine the fear and anxiety of the other passengers.”

Claire Harris, prosecuting, said Turner, his wife, their 18-month-old daughter and other family members were on an afternoon flight back home to the UK from Alicante, Spain, following a week-long villa holiday on August 9.

There had been a row at the airport over the time Turner had spent in the toilet, leaving his wife to cope with the bags.

During the argument Turner had sworn at his father-in-law and threatened to kill him.

On board Turner, of Chedworth Drive, Manchester, argued with his brother-in-law and then headbutted him, making his nose bleed.

Pilot Sandy Whitaker was alerted to the incident by cabin crew. He reported it to aircraft control who told him not to follow the flight plan but to take the most direct route to Blackpool Airport.

Martin Hillson, defending, said senior cabin crew member, Christine Bradley, had to be commended for her handling of the situation by calming people down and taking Turner to the front galley to talk to him.

Mr Hillson added: “Turner was in a pressure cooker.

“He was in a plane for two hours with constant comments directed at him and he momentarily lost control.

“Although it must have been distressing for passengers there was no danger to the flight. There was no alcohol involved.

“Following the incident he contacted an anger management counsellor and is having sessions with him.”