A WOMAN who punched a pilot in the face as she was thrown off the plane has walked free from court, The Sun reports. Easyjet crew feared Nicola Nyamanhindi was ‘drunk’ when they failed to wake her just before take-off – despite tapping her on the shoulder up to ‘12 times’. When told to leave the plane, the 30-year-old launched a tirade of swear words at the captain before lunging forward to “strike him with both hands”.
Today he warned of the increase of anti-social and violent behaviour by passengers as a judge sentenced his attacker to 12 weeks’ jail suspended for two years. In a statement read to court, the captain said: “This incident seems to be typical of the nature and personality of a small amount of people travelling today.
“It’s a small minority of passengers that cause these problems and these incidents of anti-social abuse and violent behaviour are increasing and have caused a change to company policy and staff training. “I have become far more aware that the threat to cabin crew safety has increased over the last few years.
“Neither they or I should have to endure verbal or physical abuse of any type, or disruptive behaviour towards anybody.” Trafford magistrates heard how cabin crew noticed Nyamanhindi was unresponsive as they prepared for take-off the easyJet plane to Paphos from Manchester Airport.
They called the captain who found her with her eyes shut and mouth open. Prosecuting, Tina Cunnane said Nyamanhindi finally opened her eyes during the incident and was asked to join the captain on the aircraft steps. Staggering, her eyes were ‘glazed, unfocused and unnatural’ – but when asked if she had taken medication or drugs, she replied with ‘am I allowed to go or not?’
The crew voted unanimously against her flying. But when informed by the captain, she spat a tirade of swear words at him before lunging forward to ‘strike at him with both her hands’. There was a sudden sharp pain to his nose and mouth which forced him to step back, Ms Cunnane told the court, adding: “He was unprepared and left reeling in shock for a number of seconds before he realised what had occurred.”
The flight manager caught the defendant in a bear hug, where she continued to threaten and abuse staff before she was arrested. The captain, who was left with a ‘tingling nose’, was replaced by another pilot and the flight was delayed by two hours. Nyamanhindi later pleaded guilty to assault and was bailed on conditions, including no foreign travel.
But she was caught days later boarding a flight to Paphos from Birmingham Airport and arrested. Defending, Rachael Good said her client was remorseful, had mental health issues and was a previous victim of domestic violence. He said she was currently homeless and needed help with anger management.
“She was very tired and is not at her best when she is woken up,” she added. Nyamanhindi, whose record includes two assaults on police officers, was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail suspended for two years.
Chairman of the bench Richard Monkhouse said the sentence meant they could ‘control her behaviour for two years’.