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Monday 26 February 2018

Teenager can't help shouting 'I'm in ISIS!' at airport security

Lewis Nickell. Picture: Channel 4 images
Lewis Nickell. Picture: Channel 4 images

Mark Edwards

A teenager who suffers from Tourette's syndrome refuses to be put off flying despite shouting "I'm a terrorist" and "I'm in ISIS" while going through airport security.

Lewis Nickell was diagnosed with the condition, which causes him to swear uncontrollably, when he was 16 and says travelling by air can be a stressful experience when his fellow passengers are faced with his terrorist-related expletives.

Appearing in a new Channel 4 series Flights From Hell: Caught On Camera, Mr Nickell, who is 18 and from Belfast, reveals how his condition means he will frequently shout "bomb" while trying to get through airport security and even inappropriately stare at attractive cabin crew when on the plane.

When airborne, his Tourette's tends to calm down as the most stressful part of the journey is over but when tired and nervous, the symptoms of the condition can be heightened.

During the show, the Belfast man is seen telling an attractive cabin crew member: "I want to have your babies" and "nice a**".

When Mr Newell's expletives do upset passengers, his girlfriend or family step in to defuse the situation and explain his outbursts. In other episodes Mr Newell, who publishes video blogs about his experiences, shouts at airport officials that he is carrying cocaine in his luggage.

He said: "You have to have a sense of humour. I lived for 15 years without Tourette's and I had a pretty good sense of humour before that, so I'm sure as hell not going to let that change now.

"When I'm actually on the plane everything is grand, I usually just fall asleep - the longest flight I've been on is to Spain but I'd love to go further, maybe to America or Australia."

"The more nervous you get, the more the tics and the swearing get worse, so I try not to get too stressed."

After one person became upset about Mr Nickell's language, cabin crew moved him and his friend.

He added: "The airport staff are usually pretty understanding at security, it's more the general public that I get a stronger reaction from, because there's lots more of them and it can take them a while to realise. Nothing surprises me anymore."

The teenager says his main reason for appearing on the show is to raise awareness about the condition and make people smile.

"I hope that when someone sees one of my videos, they'll laugh," he said.

"There's obviously a 100pc serious side to it, but you have to laugh too."

Tourette's syndrome is a neurological condition characterised by a combination of involuntary noises and movements called tics.

It usually starts during childhood and continues into adulthood.

Tics can be either vocal or physical.

Belfast Telegraph

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