Man’s drug-fuelled rampage on Heathrow flight so bad crew feared plane may crash
A gardener who works for actress Helena Bonham Carter’s mother launched a tirade of abuse at cabin crew and passengers while high on prescription drugs during a long haul flight.
Kujo Frei, 24, kicked off when another passenger “left a mess” in the toilets of the Virgin Atlantic flight from Delhi, India, to Heathrow on March 17.
Frei refused to sit down when the seatbelt sign was put on by a pilot and told cabin crew they were a “bunch of c*nts”, leaving one stewardess to fear the aircraft “would not land safely”.
He also swore at the couple sitting in front of him and stuck chewing gum to one of their jackets when they asked him to stop kicking their seats.
Frei, of South End Road, Camden, pleaded guilty to failing to obey a pilot’s order and three counts of using insulting language to cause distress at Ealing Magistrates’ Court last month.
At a sentencing hearing today, magistrates ordered him to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and pay a fine of £564.
Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court heard Frei had “wide eyes” during the incident and at times “appeared confused”.
In a statement, stewardess Sarah Ward said: “During the whole incident he made me feel nervous to the point I was shaking. I felt strongly we weren’t going to land safely.
“In all my flying career, he is one of the most obnoxious passengers I have ever had to encounter.”
Fiona Clegg, defending Frei, said her client was feeling anxious about getting home from India as the coronavirus pandemic threatened to stop him from getting a flight.
She said he was prescribed Xanax by a pharmacist in India, which he took on the flight.
Xanax, also known as Alprazolam, is a type of minor tranquilliser not usually prescribed in the UK and used to manage anxiety disorders.
It works on the brain and nervous system to bring on a sedating and calming effect.
She said: “He instructs that was the Xanax and what resulted was the most adverse of reactions. He knows full well the way he behaved was completely unacceptable.
“Mr Frei invites the court to accept that his offending behaviour was directly linked to his anxiety and the medication he took to remedy that at the time.
“Whilst the court often hears the expression ‘out of character’ this couldn’t be further from how Mr Frei conducts his ordinary life.”
She read a reference from Elena Bonham Carter, the mother of Hollywood actress Helena Bonham Carter, who Frei gardens for.
Ms Bonham Carter, who goes by her maiden name Propper de Callejon, said: “I have known Kujo Frei for many years, helping his father look after my garden on a regular basis.
“He is helpful and completely trustworthy. My experience is he is kind, considerate and thoughtful of other people.”
It was said Frei not only works as a self-employed gardener but also has his own company that hires sound equipment to Drum and Bass events.
Frei has been ordered to pay £100 to two members of cabin crew and passenger John Grenville, who was sitting in front of him and was called an “old c*nt”.
Mr Grenville said in a statement that his wife had been left with a fear of flying after the incident.
Chair of the bench James Reid said: “We have carefully considered all the circumstances of this case and we view this matter very serious as it was a deeply unpleasant incident and the place and the time of it make that situation even further compounded because it was in an airline and nobody could get away from it.
“We take account that this is out of character and by references that have been made that gives us some indication of the person you are.”
Frei, of South End Road, Camden, north London, was handed an 18 month community order and will pay a £384 fine, plus £180 costs and £300 compensation, totalling £864.