Social worker Heather Anne McCarroll, from Co Antrim, Northern Ireland, could lose her job after her drunken rage on a Jet2 flight, where she punched and scream at crew, led to an emergency landing
A social worker who punched and screamed at Jet2 cabin crew forcing a pilot into an emergency landing could lose her job.
Mum-of-two Heather Anne McCarroll, from Cullybackey, Co Antrim, was on a flight from Belfast to Antalya, Turkey, on September 6 last year when she flew into a drunken rage and assaulted staff. She pleaded guilty to four counts of common assault, as well as criminal damage, being drunk on a plane and behaving in a drunk and disorderly way.
Judge Nigel Broderick gave the 38-year-old a four-month prison sentence, but let her go free on bail pending an appeal, at Antrim Crown Court. He said he was minded to impose a deterrent sentence because “there are too many of these incidents”, describing her actions as “possibly the worst form of behaviour that I have come across”.
Defence barrister Aaron Thompson admitted that “it’s an exceptionally serious matter” but he told the court that McCarroll had to an extent “already faced punishment” as she is suspended from her job as a social worker and “faces losing that employment”.
And NI Social Care Council has confirmed that an investigation is ongoing. It told the Belfast Telegraph: “We can confirm that an investigation is underway in relation to Heather Ann McCarroll who is subject to an interim suspension order, which is also recorded on the public-facing register.
“This means that a registrant may pose a risk to the public, colleagues, or service users, and/or that it is in the public interest, or in the interest of a registrant, that their registration is suspended on a temporary basis while the case is being investigated. As our investigations are ongoing and due to confidentiality we cannot comment further, including confirming if this is the same individual referenced in the conviction you are referring to.”
Antrim Crown Court heard that McCarroll had started shouting and swearing at crew members on the plane, calling the cabin manager “big lesbian b******”. She then continued to drink more booze and became more abusive to the cabin manager, calling her a “f****** s**t” and “w***e b******”. She had also been “openly using a vape”, the court heard, despite them being banned on board.
McCarroll at one stage began “shouting sexual obscenities” while inside the plane’s toilet cubicle and could be heard “kicking the door”. The toilet was left in such a bad condition it had to be closed for the rest of the flight.
The court in Ballymena also heard McCarroll go to the front of the plane after the toilet incident, where she got hold of the intercom and was “screaming down it loudly” to such an extent, that the captain had to switch it off so he could hear incoming transmissions from air traffic control.
It was described how McCarroll “punched a crew member to the throat” while being restrained by off-duty police on board, then went to the galley area at the rear of the plane where she assaulted two other members of the cabin crew. The pilot then put measures into place to land the aircraft as soon as possible after staff raised the alarm.
She would have stood trial for her behaviour in Turkey, where the flight landed, but it was decided to hold it back in Northern Ireland due to the language barrier, Belfast Live reported on Tuesday. McCarroll had told PSNI she had taken diazepam with booze ahead of the flight to calm her nerves, and had expressed remorse for “what little she could remember”.
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