MAN JAILED FOR NINE YEARS – FOR SMOKING IN AIRCRAFT TOILET

A man who lit a cigarette in a plane’s toilet has had his jail sentence extended to nine years and six months.

John Cox triggered the Monarch Airbus’ fire alarm when he discarded the cigarette in the plane toilet’s bin.

And the aircraft captain issued a mayday call and considered an emergency landing when the crew struggled to extinguish the resulting fire.

Cox, of Coates Road, Kidderminster, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and was jailed for four years and six months at Birmingham Crown Court in January.

However, the Court of Appeal has ruled the sentence was too lenient and jailed Cox, 46, for nine years and six months.

SMOKER
The court heard he drank alcohol before and during the Monarch flight (Picture: Rex/Shutterstock)

The plane flying from Birmingham to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt and was 33,000 feet in the air at the time of the incident, in August 2015.

A smoke detector first went off an hour into the flight and the fire, in a different toilet, was put out by the crew.

The captain then issued a strongly worded warning about the ‘moronic’ conduct of smoking on board – before a second incident a few hours later.

Cox was detained by Egyptian authorities when the plane landed and arrested on his return to the UK.

The court heard he had been drinking before and during the flight, and was abusive and aggressive to other passengers and the crew.

Man jailed for nine years and six months for smoking in plane toilet
He was detained on landing in Sharm el-Sheikh (Picture: Getty)

The captain, who had flown for Monarch for 20 years, said he had never experienced an incident with so much potential danger.

Lady Justice Sharp said: ‘The level of culpability and potential for harm is at the highest level.

‘To throw a cigarette butt into a wastepaper bin without ensuring it is extinguished would show a high degree of recklessness.

‘On an aircraft at 33,000 feet, the conduct comes perilously close to deliberate fire-setting.’

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