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William Clegg, 33, who was flying in business class, has been charged with assaulting five members of the cabin crew on his flight to London Heathrow from San Jose, California. Mr Clegg, of Notting Hill, denies five counts of assault by beating. The cabin crew were allegedly forced to restrain the passenger after he put his t-shirt over a female cabin crew member’s head. The 33-year-old, who is facing trial at Isleworth Crown Court, was accused of “acting bizarrely”, including allegedly “throwing chocolate bars” at sleeping passengers.
After the crew attempted to restrain him, Mr Clegg allegedly “hit” multiple members of the crew, “threw” another one to the floor and “headbutted” a female member of staff.
He was arrested after the flight landed in the UK.
Mr Clegg had reportedly taken two Ambien sleeping pills, a tablet of zopiclone known as Imovane – another form of sleeping pill used to treat bouts of insomnia – along with three glasses of wine and two travel-sized bottles of Baileys.
Prosecutor Paul Edwards told Isleworth Crown Court that Mr Clegg suffers from epilepsy and insomnia, adding that he has a “high-powered job involving travelling to different countries and staying just a short while”.
Mr Edwards said: “While he was in the United States, he went and saw a doctor for this problem of insomnia and he was prescribed zolpidem, known as Ambien, which is a sleeping tablet.
“He was already on another sleeping tablet, zopiclone (Imovane).
“He was instructed to take one tablet, one tablet is 12.5mg.
“On the flight, Mr Clegg took two tablets of zolpidem and one tablet of zopiclone. He also drank three glasses of wine and two bottles of Baileys.
“This led, the Crown will say, to him acting bizarrely.
“In terms of acting bizarrely, he was walking up and down the corridor in business class.
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“He went to the galley, the kitchen area, and started throwing chocolate bars at passengers who were sleeping at the time.
“He said he wanted to go outside to see his friend. He was told by a flight attendant that we were 38,000 feet in the air.
“His behaviour got to the point, and again this was another bizarre action, he tried on one occasion he lifted his t-shirt and tried to put it over the head of a [member of cabin crew].
“This behaviour led to the cabin crew taking the decision that they needed to restrain him.
“He was causing a nuisance to people in business class, so they thought, ‘let’s take him to the back of the plane where he will be less of a nuisance.’
“Mr Clegg didn’t like this. In count one, where Mr Jamie Marsh he was trying to restrain him, that’s when Mr Clegg took his arm and threw him to the floor.
“For Amy Stewart, in count two, it was when he was taken to the back of the plane and he tried to headbutt her three times.
“In count three, Mr Cieran Robert-Smith was in the gallery area in the plane as Mr Marsh and Ms Stewart and other cabin crew was trying to restrain him. This is when he broke free and hit Mr Robert Smith.
“In count four and five, Mr Franz Hartmann and Ms Carlie Titchner were hit when he was trying to get free of the leg restraints.
“When he landed at London Heathrow, police were called and he was arrested.
“He stated, in a nutshell, he believed he was having an epileptic fit…and couldn’t remember what had taken place.
“The main issue, in this case, was this defendant reckless in his actions? Recklessness comes down to this, was he reckless when he took the tablets?”
Mr Clegg denies all five counts.
The trial continues.
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