A WIGAN man accused of assaulting his wife aboard a jet over America causing it to divert to a different city “urinated on the plane’s floor and seats”, a court heard.
Darren Halliwell, who was said to be heavily intoxicated, appeared at a Boston district court on Thursday where he had to surrender his passport after prosecutors told how witnesses saw him hit his wife in the face, shout at people and fall down on other passengers during the flight.
The plane, which was heading to Houston, Texas, on Wednesday had to land at Logan Airport in Boston where it was met by troopers.
Bail was set at $5,000 for the Aspull 48-year-old and if he is to pay that, he is ordered to “remain alcohol-free, stay away from the victim, and stay away from Logan Airport”.
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, a court official said.
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”.
The statement said Halliwell, who is the managing director of an IT firm, was seen to fall over and push flight attendants two or three times.
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.
The flight was diverted to Logan International Airport, where Massachusetts State Police attempted to remove Halliwell from the plane.
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.
A court official described him as “sober and remorseful” in court, and that he “didn’t’ remember a thing” about the incident.
Halliwell is scheduled to return to court July 29.