Sunday 19 November 2017

Company director in maximum security prison after mid-air 'assault' on wife

British Airways said the behaviour would not be tolerated
British Airways said the behaviour would not be tolerated

Pat Hurst

A company director is in a US county jail after an alleged booze-fuelled bust-up with his wife, passengers and crew caused a transatlantic jet to divert.

Darren Halliwell, 48, who lives in a £600,000 converted farmhouse barn in the village of Aspull, near Wigan, is in a maximum security prison in Boston after allegedly being falling-down drunk on the British Airways flight from Heathrow to Houston, court officials in the US said.

The father of two is also alleged to have urinated in his seat, hit his wife and fallen over other passengers and flight crew, causing the aeroplane to divert to Boston's Logan International Airport at noon on Tuesday where he was arrested by Massachusetts state police troopers.

Mr Halliwell appeared at East Boston District Court today where he did not enter a plea and was sent to Suffolk County Jail, a maximum security prison holding 600 inmates, pending him raising 5,000 dollars bail, a court official said.

He has also surrendered his passport.

A court official described Mr Halliwell as "sober and remorseful" in court today, and who "didn't' remember a thing" about the incident.

Details from the police arrest report were read to the Press Association by the court official.

The police statement of one passenger said Mr Halliwell was observed "acting aggressively" on the flight and had started to "act up" within an hour of the flight taking off and seemed "drunk" and "very intoxicated".

The statement said Mr Halliwell was seen to fall over and push flight attendants two or three times.

Another passenger said he saw Mr Halliwell, "strike his wife with the back of his fist" and "yell at other passengers and would not listen to the flight attendant".

Mr Halliwell is also alleged to have stumbled and fallen on to the granddaughter of another passenger, a child sitting in another seat, and then shouted at her.

A statement from his wife, named in the police report as Sharon Halliwell, said her husband had urinated in his seat and had "acted like this before but never this bad".

She declined medical help and told officers she just wanted to return to the UK as soon as possible.

The statements said five passengers helped flight crew deal with Mr Halliwell and get him back in his seat.

Mr Halliwell is charged with interfering with the operations of the flight, disorderly conduct and assault and battery, which carries a maximum sentence on conviction of two and a half years in jail and 5,000 dollar fine, the court official said.

A Foreign Office statement said: "We are aware of reports of the arrest of a British national at Boston Logan International Airport and stand ready to offer consular assistance as necessary."

Authorities say the plane continued to Houston after his arrest.

Mr Halliwell is due back in court on July 29 for a further hearing.

Press Association

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