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An Infamous In-Flight Outburst Leads to a Shocking Suicide

A human rights lawyer committed suicide earlier this year following a racist outburst on an Air India flight back in November of 2018. Simone Burns was arrested upon arrival in London and, despite concerns over the state of her mental health, was jailed for six months. She died on June 1st of 2019.

It has been revealed that a human rights lawyer committed suicide earlier this summer following her racist and violent outburst on an Air India flight in November of 2018, The Sun reports. Simone Burns, 50, was imprisoned as a result of the incident, which saw her spit at, swear and scream at members of cabin crew on-board London-bound Air India Flight 131 from Mumbai last fall.

Burns’ outburst began after crew allegedly refused to serve her a fourth bottle of wine. She was arrested immediately upon landing at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).

During an inquest into her death, it was reported that Burns had told her doctor that she believed that her drink had been spiked while she was on the flight, thus triggering her behavior. Burns – despite having made her concerns known to her doctor–was given a six-month jail sentence.

It was also revealed during the inquest that there were concerns over her mental health, with family members describing her behavior as “erratic” in the time before her death. Burns’ family had also asked for her health to be assessed, but no such assessment was ever undertaken during her time in prison.

On June 1st of this year, the outlet reports that a member of the public saw Burns sitting on a cliff close to the English seaside town of Eastbourne. It is reported that Burns jumped off of the cliff in an apparent suicide.

Speaking out about the lack of care shown to Burns during her imprisonment, her family stated, “In our view, an opportunity to help her was missed.”

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8 Comments
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CDTraveler November 18, 2019

The issue here is not that the woman was punished for her actions but that while she was in jail there was no assessment of her physical and mental health despite a request from her family. Her outburst on the plane may have been a sign of mental illness, and it sounds as if there were enough other signs that her family requested an assessment. The tragedy is that a timely assessment which could have prevented her suicide wasn't done when that should be a standard part of prison sentence for erratic behavior.

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thebug622 November 17, 2019

6 months of prison for a drunken racial outburst seems extreme unless she had a ongoing problem,Anyhow the judge should have seen to it that she a mental health review befor her sentence was given

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ThePopes November 17, 2019

Im sure most flyertalk posters know alcohol hits you harder on a plane due to the decreased air pressure and the effects of hypoxia. Some people don't read flyertalk or know much about planes though so they may miss judge their tolerance to alcohol and the effects of hypoxia causing them to drink too much and get in a bad situation. I feel sorry for people who drink too much and go on a rant on a plane or do something criminal because they have lost control of their body and mind. I believe people are responsible for their own actions however the person serving the alcohol should execute some judgement and stop serving before a person is incapacitated. Maybe hard limits on alcohol serving on planes? Good that the FA's stopped serving when they did as it would be dangerous to allow this person to continue drinking.

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Qatar Airways November 16, 2019

Smashed the bottle over her head,some would say! But NOT me.

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arcticflier November 15, 2019

Should have just pacified her with another small bottle of wine.