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Careless Smoker Sentenced to Nearly a Decade Behind Bars for Causing Midair Fire

A UK resident saw his prison sentence more than double to nine years, six months after a high court deemed his drunken actions aboard a Monarch Airlines flight “very close to deliberate.”

Passenger John Cox caused near panic aboard a Monarch Airlines flight bound from Birmingham Airport (BHX) to Sharm El Sheikh International Airport (SSH) in Egypt. The August 2015 flight was forced to make an urgent mayday call and a “rapid descent” emergency landing after the intoxicated flyer discarded a lit cigarette in the plane’s lavatory causing a fire.

The lavatory fire was considered especially dangerous because the crew of the Airbus passenger jet had exhausted much of the plane’s fire suppression gear putting out an earlier, unrelated bathroom fire. Cox, who had been drinking heavily in an airport lounge prior to boarding, was described as “belligerent and aggressive” when crew members confronted him about the near disaster he had created.

The 46-year-old previously pled guilty to reckless arson in January of this year. In March, Cox was sentenced to four years, six months of incarceration for his dangerous actions in the air. Now, the Birmingham Mail reports that the negligent smoker will spend more than twice that long behind bars after a higher court declared his punishment “unduly lenient.”

After reviewing victim impact statements, a higher court judge determined that Cox got off with a much too light sentence. “The potential for causing disaster here was plain and obvious,” Lady Justice Sharp ruled. “The sentence passed was unduly lenient. This offense called for a deterrent sentence and condign punishment.”

While the court agreed that Cox had not intentionally set out to start a fire, the Judge found that his actions that day “came very close to deliberate fire-setting.” Cox’s lawyers had asked for leniency, saying that despite his actions, Cox is a “hard-working family man” who was at the time not himself because of the strain of his marriage falling apart.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
TravellingITGuy May 29, 2017

He may be a "hard working family man" but he is also someone who nearly killed a lot of people, and someone who smokes where he isn't supposed to. I'm gad they upped his sentence, I hope he learns his lesson and that others take note.

Brendan May 29, 2017

He probably deserves the longer sentence because he could have killed everybody aboard, but even 4.5 years in prison is still a "deterrent sentence."

Spanish May 28, 2017

How ridiculous. 9+ years? Poor behavior, absolutely, but people get lighter sentences for much worse crimes. What a tragedy for him and his family. 10 years.... Wow.....

krlcomm May 27, 2017

Not enough time. Stupidity on this level should be extraordinarily painful, thank you higher court.