Air rage millionaire back on home turf

Darren Halliwell at his home
Darren Halliwell at his home

A WIGAN millionaire facing jail in America over charges he went on a drunken rampage aboard a plane has been allowed home by US courts.

Darren Halliwell was arrested after allegedly going berserk abroad a plane and causing terrified airline staff to divert the flight.

He is still facing numerous charges, including assaulting his wife and urinating on plane seats, but has been allowed to fly home after posting a hefty bail. The powerfully-built 48-year-old spoke briefly to the Wigan Evening Post yesterday when contacted at his Aspull home.

But when questioned, Halliwell, who is said to have made his fortune after launching an IT firm, declined to comment.

Dressed in a pink t-shirt and light red gym shorts, Halliwell is spending his first week back in Wigan after his high-profile arrest, which sparked global headlines.

He was arrested and charged after the plane he was travelling on had to divert to Logan Airport in Boston where it was met by state troopers. If found guilty he faces up to two and half years in prison.

Halliwell, who was said be extremely drunk, is accused of hitting his wife in the face before launching a tirade of abuse and falling down on other passengers.

He appeared at Boston district court the following day and had to surrender his passport. The court also ordered the businessman to remain “alcohol-free” and stay away from his alleged victim.

Halliwell is charged with interfering with the operations of the flight, disorderly conduct and assault and battery, a court official said.

It is understood shaven-headed Halliwell is living alone at the family’s palatial home just off Wigan Road, Aspull, while his wife is staying elsewhere.

His next court date is scheduled for tomorrow but it is believed that he has been given permission not to appear in person.

At his first court hearing, assistant District Attorney Emily Hamrock told the court that Halliwell, who has visited the country around 25 times, was onboard a British Airways flight from London to Houston when he allegedly became drunk and belligerent, yelling at a 14-year-old passenger who was travelling with her family.

Prosecutors said he acted aggressively towards flight attendants who attempted to calm him.They then woke his wife for her assistance and as she attempted to assist, Halliwell allegedly struck her in the face with the back of his hand.

He then urinated on the plane’s floor and seats, prosecutors said.

The police statement of one passenger said Halliwell, who did not enter a plea, 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”.

Another passenger said he saw him “strike his wife with the back of his fist” and “yell at other passengers and would not listen to the flight attendant”.

Police were told that five passengers helped flight crew deal with him and get him back in his seat.

His wife, who told police her husband had “acted like this before but never this bad”, declined medical help and told officers she just wanted to return to the UK as soon as possible.

As he was escorted off the plane by troopers, Halliwell, who is being held at a maximum security Jail, stumbled repeatedly; his speech was incoherent and slurred when officers attempted to speak

with him.