William Clegg, 33, is charged with assaulting five flight attendants while flying from San Jose, California, to London Heathrow after he allegedly headbutted cabin crew and kicked out at staff
A business class BA passenger headbutted cabin crew and threw chocolates at others in a ‘bizarre’ mid-air rampage, a court heard.
William Clegg, 33, is charged with assaulting five flight attendants while flying from San Jose, California, to London Heathrow.
He is said to have taken two Ambien sleeping pills, a tablet of zopiclone known as Imovane, along with three glasses of wine and two travel-sized bottles of Baileys.
Cabin crew were forced to restrain him when he put his t-shirt over a female cabin crew member’s head before pulling another member of staff to the ground, jurors were told.
Clegg, who wore a sharp navy suit at the trial at Isleworth Crown Court, denies five counts of assault by beating.
Paul Edwards, prosecuting, explained that Clegg suffers from epilepsy and insomnia, as well as having a “high-powered job involving travelling to different countries and staying just a short while”.
He said: “While he was in United States, he went and saw a doctor for this problem of insomnia and he was prescribed zolpidem, known as Ambien, which is a sleeping tablet. He was already on another sleeping tablet, zopiclone (Imovane).
“He was instructed to take one tablet, one tablet is 12.5mg.
“On the flight, Mr Clegg took two tablets of zolpidem and one tablet of zopiclone. He also drank three glasses of wine and two bottles of Baileys.
“This led, the Crown will say, to him acting bizarrely.
“In terms of acting bizarrely, he was walking up and down the corridor in business class.
“He went to the galley, the kitchen area, and started throwing chocolate bars at passengers who were sleeping at the time.
“He said he wanted to go outside to see his friend. He was told by a flight attendant that we were 38,000 feet in the air.
“His behaviour got to the point, and again this was another bizarre action, he tried on one occasion he lifted his t-shirt and tried to put it over the head of a [member of cabin crew].
“This behaviour led to the cabin crew taking the decision that they needed to restrain him.
“He was causing a nuisance to people in business class, so they thought, ‘let’s take him to the back of the plane where he will be less of a nuisance.’
“Mr Clegg didn’t like this. In count one, where Mr Jamie Marsh he was trying to restrain him, that’s when Mr Clegg took his arm and threw him to the floor.
Get all the latest news sent to your inbox. Sign up for the free Mirror newsletter
“For Amy Stewart, in count two, it was when he was taken to the back of the plane and he tried to headbutt her three times.
“In count three, Mr Cieran Robert-Smith was in the gallery area in the plane as Mr Marsh and Ms Stewart and other cabin crew was trying to restrain him. This is when he broke free and hit Mr Robert Smith.
“In count four and five, Mr Franz Hartmann and Ms Carlie Titchner were hit when he was trying to get free of the leg restraints.
“When he landed at London Heathrow, police were called and he was arrested.
“He stated, in a nutshell, he believed he was having an epileptic fit…and couldn’t remember what had taken place.
“The main issue, in this case, was this defendant reckless in his actions? Recklessness comes down to this, was he reckless when he took the tablets?”
Clegg, of Notting Hill, denies five counts of assault by beating.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.