Drunk pharmacist who unleashed terror on flight with ‘afterlife’ rant jailed


 An “intimidating” and foul-mouthed pharmacist who ranted about the ‘afterlife’ and falsely accused air hostesses of being racist has been jailed  Muhamed Azam, 37, was on board a five hour Thomas Cook flight from Manchester to Morocco when he started becoming threatening and talking about the ‘afterlife’ causing panic at 37,000 feet  The father-of-six falsely accused two air hostesses of being racist when they turned down his request for a full bottle of orange juice, which he wanted to top up a secret stash of duty free vodka he had under his seat  As other passengers looked on, drunken Azam who was due to start a “dads’ holiday” with a group of fathers began shouting about the “afterlife” and “Muslim principles”  He stood in the aisle adding: “I’m a pharmacist I work hard for my money. You can’t tell me what to f**king do ”    He also hurled abuse at the captain of the aircraft, kicked at the seat of a passenger in front of him and claimed a glass of orange juice he was given was watered down  Police in the North African country were waiting to arrest Azam after the jet touched down at Marrakech airport following the 2,100 mile journey  In a statement, air hostess Donna Bayley Jones said: “I have 27 years experience as a flight attendant dealing with a number of issues on board and this individual was one of the worst  “He behaved in a threatening and intimidating manner and he made passengers and crew feel very uncomfortable  “One of the catalysts in his behaviour was clearly drink. Acting like that at 37000 feet People are generally nervous when flying and his behaviour added to this. We should not have to tolerate this sort of behaviour ”  Her colleague Katie McQuillan said: “He was abusive and at times spoke in another language Even though I couldn’t understand what he was saying I believe it was offensive due to the manner in which it was said  “I’ve done this job for four years and this is the worst I’ve ever dealt with.”  Passenger Elizabeth Tarris, said: “This male made me feel very uncomfortable I suffer from anxiety and this made it so much worse. He kept getting up and going to the bathroom which made me so nervous  “Usually in situations where I begin to feel anxious, I deal with it by removing myself from the situation but in this situation I was unable to do so as we were up in the air I was very relieved to get off the plane.  “He kept on talking about the afterlife and Muslim principles saying that the afterlife is more important than this life The implications of what he said and what he meant by it made me very anxious.”   and was jailed for six months  The incident happened on January 13 this year, after Azam boarded the 6am flight at Manchester with his friends  Prosecuting, Juliet Berry said: “He came to the attention of cabin crew and passengers early on in the flight due to his loud manner and swearing  “At this point the swearing was just in general conversation and not directed at anyone in particular but he was speaking loudly and swearing which was offensive to other passengers and crew  “He was spoken to on a number of occasions by crew and his friends telling him to be quiet In addition to the swearing he also made a number of comments to the cabin crew about their appearance  “He commented to one about their hairstyle and asked them questions about football and the like It was more overly familiar than inappropriate but he was making a nuisance of himself with the passenger in front of him as well, kicking his seat and playing with his trouser leg with his foot  “The passenger in front asked him to stop and the defendant apologised. About 15 minutes before the flight landed, the defendant approached crew in the galley asking for a glass of orange juice The crew told him the bar was closed and asked him to return to his seat for landing But the defendant told them he was diabetic and would be ill if they didn’t give him some  “With some reluctance, the crew provided him with a glass but he continued to be loud and rude He then asked if he could have the whole bottle of orange juice.  “He said the cabin crew had watered down the orange juice they gave him and he complained about that and was generally being obnoxious ”  Miss Berry continued: “He complained further about himself being diabetic and that he would become ill if they didn’t do as he asked Cabin crew were not convinced he was being honest about being diabetic and asked his friends if he was but they said they didn’t know  “The seatbelt signs then came on and crew asked him to return to his seat. Cabin crew continued with pre-landing preparations  “But when crew passed his seat he began swearing and being rude about them and the way they had spoken to him in general One senior crew member stopped at one point and told him that enough was enough in a firm tone  “The passenger in front of him, took that opportunity to inform crew that he had been thoroughly obnoxious all through the flight and that he had had enough of him too  “The defendant then complained they were being racist towards him. His friends told him to calm down and apologised for him and a female crew member asked for his passport which he refused Another member of staff came over and saw a mostly empty bottle of vodka.  “This bottle was clearly duty free and a large volume had been consumed which is also illegal Cabin crew did not provide him with any alcohol during the course of the flight. On and off from the word go, he was considered trouble  “Initially he was just talking loudly and swearing loudly causing offence to others and then when he was spoken to his behaviour deteriorated further As the plane landed he stood up while going along the run way when the seatbelt sign was still on  “The defendant gestured to one of the cabin crew, got up and stood in the aisle saying: “I’m a pharmacist I work hard for my money” and called them racist  “Other passengers started to become annoyed at this and crew became worried the situation would deteriorate further The captain spoke to him and the defendant was abusive to him as well. He kept commenting about others and their behaviour calling them racist and complained about cabin crew not dealing with his diabetes in an appropriate way  “He was asked by crew for his details which he again refused and as was detained an empty bottle of vodka was found by his seat ”  Azam initially denied wronging when he was interviewed by police in England in May  He had eight previous offences on his record including obstructing police, failure to provide a specimen of breath, threatening behaviour, drink driving and being drunk and disorderly  In mitigation, his lawyer Carl Hargan said: “The people he was with were a group of fathers and they all decided to go to Morocco for a few days and he decided to have a drink A lot of his behaviour on the flight was inappropriate, laddish behaviour.  “He decided to drink after a period of non-drinking and he has regretted it since and he realises his behaviour was inappropriate A prison sentence will result in him losing his job. He has now stopped drinking ”  But sentencing Judge Martin Rudland told Azam: “A message must be sent, not only to you but to others, that you cannot act this way on an airplane  “Offending of this sort that takes place 37,000 feet in the air is serious and a small incident can have catastrophic consequences There has to be appropriate punishment because others need to be deterred.  “Authority figures are clearly a problem for you Even in the cold sober light of day, during a recent meeting with probation, you stood your ground with regards to your behaviour, referring to one of the cabin crew as a cow  “Your lack of insight and immaturity are shining through. Only an immediate custodial sentence will do Let this be a lesson to you.”