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'Love rat' from Jeremy Kyle Show threatens to "knock out" plane passengers in drunken rage

Crime WorldBy Sunday World
Joshua Strickland (Pic: The Jeremy Kyle Show)
Joshua Strickland (Pic: The Jeremy Kyle Show)

A "nightmare" drunk has been jailed for six months after his abusive behaviour to flight crew and passengers led to a plane being diverted.

Joshua Strickland, 21, of York, threatened to assault a number of people during a Jet2.com flight from Leeds Bradford Airport to Cyprus on July 13.

When the plane returned to the UK to land in Manchester, Strickland was heard to say: "If they are doing this I might as well knock someone out."

The painter and decorator, who failed a "love rat" lie detector test on ITV's The Jeremy Kyle Show last year, was first spoken to by Jet2 crew for talking loudly when the plane was on the tarmac.

Following take-off shortly after 10.30am, Strickland put his face close up to an air stewardess and said: "I want a f***ing drink."

Manchester Crown Court heard he turned his attentions to a Cypriot family sitting nearby and told them: "You had better not be talking about me or I will knock you out."

He went on to say: "Speak English, talk English."

Strickland, whose eyes were glazed and was slurring his words, told another passenger: "Shut up or I will smack you."

Elizabeth Evans, prosecuting, said a seat was found at the back of the plane for Strickland and he was physically restrained in his seat, partly by his friends.

However, he broke free at one point after pretending to go to the toilet and ran down the aisle towards the Cypriot family.

Concerned crew members informed the flight captain of Strickland's "volatile, abusive and unpredictable" behaviour and the decision was made to turn back over the North Sea and land at Manchester Airport.

The prosecutor said the defendant repeatedly tried to get out of his seat as the plane descended and friends attempted to cover his mouth.

She said: "He was described as kicking out at and punching his head rest and was heard to say 'if they are doing this I might as well knock someone out'."

Strickland, of Lucas Avenue, was arrested when the plane landed and the flight was further delayed until a new crew arrived.

He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to being drunk on an aircraft.

Huw Edwards, defending, said his client was "remorseful".

Mr Edwards said: "He has asked me to pass on his apologies to those who had to experience what was at least an extremely unpleasant, and at most a frightening, experience which resulted from his frankly awful behaviour."

Strickland had 11 previous convictions for 20 offences, including a most recent offence of battery in 2014 in which he received a community order.

He was said to have had a "troubled upbringing" and has mental health problems together with a history of alcohol and substance misuse.

Mr Edwards said Strickland was finally willing to address his depression.

Sentencing, Judge Eliot Knopf said: "There is no question this must have been every passenger and crew's nightmare.

"You were particularly unpleasant and aggressive because of your obsession with the Cypriot family, for whatever reason.

"It has been said on a number of occasions in recent years where people appear before court for sentences of this nature, they must expect condign punishment. Not just being punished for what they did but so that the message goes out they will receive a strict sentence."

Strickland was banned for life by Jet2 last month.

The firm applied for £10,350 compensation from Strickland but the judge pointed out that the defendant was unemployed and on benefits.