Authorities have sentenced a drunk easyJet passenger to six months in jail for grabbing an air hostess by the throat. He did so after she reprimanded him for clambering over two people during a flight to Malta to celebrate his 50th birthday. Colin Smith, 51, drank three-quarters of a bottle of duty-free whisky before the flight from Manchester on March 28 last year. A court heard that he drunkenly attacked flight attendant Carley Griffith. She told him to sit down again as he tried to use the toilet while the seatbelt signs were on.

Miss Griffith broke free of his grip and pushed him back, causing the sunseeker to fall over. Police restrained Smith and led him off the aircraft after which his mortified long-term partner Hayley Whitehand told staff: “I told him he shouldn’t drink whisky.” The police arrested Smith in the UK a week later. He confessed to strangling the stewardess. He stated that he had consumed most of a bottle of Famous Grouse whisky, causing him to become ‘nine out of 10’ drunk.

Smith has now been jailed for six months after admitting being drunk on an aircraft and assault by beating. Judge Tina Landale told Smith: “This incident happened on board a flight full of holidaymakers, which only adds to the severity of your actions. Your drunkenness was extreme, you were intoxicated to such an extent that you were described as being in a trance-like state. Passengers thought you had a medical condition.”

Defence counsel Collette Renton stated that her client’s heavy drinking was partly due to his fear of flying. She also mentioned that he had a “fragmented” memory and recollection of the incident. “The defendant is in an exceptional circumstance as he has three caring responsibilities,” she added. “He cares for his stepmother, who is 73 years old and has later-stage Alzheimer’s needs and who recently lost her husband. The defendant must also care for his partner, Ms Whitehead, who experiences mental health issues, and his step-daughter, who has a range of complex care needs.”