ENGLAND - A drunken 22-year-old hotel manager who managed to sneak aboard a plane despite not being booked on a flight told staff he was the airliner's co-pilot, a court heard today.
Lee Jezard, of Redditch, Worcestershire, has pleaded guilty to boarding an empty Lufthansa plane and breaching security at Birmingham Airport by climbing through a baggage carousel. Jezard - who lost his job as a hotel manager when his employer found out about the incident on July 17 - also admitted stealing £36.45 worth of food from the airport’s Caffe Nero. At Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, he was fined £95 for each of the three offences and ordered to fully compensate to the coffee shop, together with £185 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
David Devine, prosecuting, said that despite reports Jezard was at the airport after missing a flight to Ibiza, a study of all plane manifests revealed ‘he was never booked onto any flight’. He described the actions of Jezard as a ‘drunken escapade’. In mitigation, Jezard’s solicitor said his client ‘really had very little idea how he arrived at the airport’ after going on a drinking binge with friends in Birmingham city centre.
Tariq Khan added that in a further ‘bizarre’ act, Jezard was seen on CCTV behind a coffee shop counter at the deserted airport ‘charging his mobile and checking it - in line with his state,' Jezard was discovered aboard a Lufthansa Embraer 195 by cleaning staff, and initially told them ‘I’m the co-pilot’, said Mr Devine. ‘When they asked him for ID, he had none, and then told them “I work for the Navy”. He then said: “I’m breaking into places to see if people can catch me - I go to prisons and other places”.’
Airport police arrived and the man was arrested, and interviewed. He told officers: ‘I was trying to show how easy it was to get on that plane - and I did it. I told the cleaners I was the co-pilot.’ He struggled to recall everything that had happened, telling police he ‘wanted a walk around and thought it would be a good idea.'
Security cameras showed Jezard crawling through the opening of a baggage carousel, getting on to the airport’s tarmac apron, and then getting aboard the plane. Mr Khan said his client ‘really had very little idea how it was he arrived at the airport, but the guess is it was by train’. Police had already spoken to a ‘wandering’ and ‘clearly intoxicated’ Jezard, after spotting him in other parts of the airport in the hours before the security breach, said Mr Khan.
‘I am sure airport staff and management will have been having a close look at events, and security will have been tightened up, because of the implications this could have been a more serious breach than it was in this case,’ he said. His solicitor said Jezard's crimes had left him ‘ostracised’ by his own family, who were ‘not impressed’ by his night-time escapades. ‘He had a very good job as a manager in a hotel and has lost that job and is now without employment.’ Following the hearing, an airport spokesman said: ‘The safety and security of our passengers is our number one priority. ‘The individual penetrated the terminal boundary and was subsequently arrested by the police. A full investigation has taken place.’
The Mail / August 20, 2014
Photos: Daily Mail/ Google stock photo