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Drunk airline passengers sentenced for hate crimes

10 Oct 2018

Officers from the London Luton Airport Community team have been clamping down on racial abuse and are reminding the public to drink responsibly when travelling through the airport.

The community team adopts a zero tolerance approach to hate crime and as a result two abusive passengers who were aggressive towards gate staff at the airport have been sentenced for racial hate crimes this month.

Matthew Delahunty, 49, of Sangley Road, London, was found guilty of racially aggravated public order at Luton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (4 October). He received a community order to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and to pay a fine to fund victim services of £85, as well as pay costs of £620 to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The court heard that on 20 March, Delahunty was refused to fly when he tried to board an easyJet flight to Mallorca due to his level of intoxication. After being advised to sober up he confronted a member of the ground crew by being racist in an extremely insulting and threatening manner.

In a separate incident on 26 September, Toomas Tepper, 47, of no fixed address was deemed too drunk to travel by staff at the departure gate to a Wizz Air flight to Warsaw. After being refused boarding he was aggressive and racially abusive towards staff who were upset, angered and offended by the language used towards them.

Tepper pleaded guilty to four counts of racially aggravated public order at Luton Magistrates’ Court last Monday (1 October). After being remanded in custody he received a community order and was ordered to pay a total of £1,145 in costs, compensation and fees.

Inspector Ian Taylor of the London Luton Airport Unit said: “We are pleased to have received positive sentences for these offences which highlight that hate crime and disorderly behaviour within the airport will not be tolerated. Individuals need to be aware of their conduct when entering the airport. Abusive passengers will be dealt with positively as everyone has the right to live free from fear or harassment, especially when carrying out their job assisting members of the public. We also urge people to drink responsibly whilst at the airport, if passengers are deemed to be too intoxicated staff are obliged to prevent them from entering the aircraft.”

Clare Armstrong, Head of Passenger Services at London Luton Airport, said: “Abusive and disruptive behaviour will never be tolerated at the airport. We welcome the news of these convictions and will continue to work in partnership with Bedfordshire Police and the wider airport community to ensure the airport is safe, secure and enjoyable for all who use and work at the airport.”


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