AN AIR hostess who was drunk while working as cabin crew on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Leeds Bradford Airport is set to be sacked and lose a £30,000 redundancy payout after an previously unblemished 18-year career, a court heard.
Leeds Magistrates Court was told 46-year-old Angela Young, of St John’s Court, Thorner, Leeds, was more than four times over the drink drive limit after the flight landed at the airport at around 9pm on December 18 last year.
Prosecutor, Mark Haigh told yesterday’s court hearing that Young caught a shuttle bus to a car park at Leeds Bradford Airport and got behind the wheel of her car before starting the engine.
Mr Haigh said the bus driver was concerned she was “heavily intoxicated” and had alerted a car park attendant, who spotted Young “staggering” to her silver Volvo S40 car and noticed she was slurring her words.
The parking attendant blocked her car and asked her to turn the ignition off.
Police were called and officers breathalysed Young, who was found to be more than four times over the drink drive limit.
The court had heard Young’s breath test results were 160 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 ml of breath, The legal limit is 35 microgrammes per 100 ml of breath.
Mitigating, Ian Anderson, said: “She is employed as cabin crew by KLM. She has been doing that job for 18 years with an unblemished disciplinary record. At the moment she is suspended. As of today, she will undoubtedly be dismissed.
“She was due to be made redundant in the very near future and she would have received a payment in excess of £30,000. She will now be dismissed for gross misconduct and the money will disappear.”
Mr Anderson added: “She has suffered from some difficulties. Her home was repossessed three years ago. Her drinking has greatly increased to where now she admits it is out of control and she is an alcoholic. She knows she need help.
“She accepts she has been drinking and it was remarkable she was able to walk through the airport unaided.”
Young, who has no previous convictions, admitted ‘performing an aviation function’ while over the drink drive limit but initially denied being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the drink drive limit and attempting to drive a car while over the limit.
Her defence counsel Mr Anderson told the court Young had got behind the wheel of her car and immediately realised she shouldn’t drive.
Mr Anderson said it was disputed she had started the engine and was about to use her mobile phone to call her daughter to make alternative travel arrangements when she was blocked in by the car park attendant.
District Judge David Kitson told Mr Anderson: “With the greatest respect, with a reading of 160 she didn’t need to get into the car to know she was unable to drive. She would have been barely able to stand up.”
Young later admitted being in charge of a vehicle while over the drink drive limit. Prosecutor Mr Haigh withdrew the charge of attempting to drive a vehicle while over the drink drive limit.
District Judge Kitson sentenced Young to a 12-month community order to include a nine-month alcohol treatment requirement, 20 rehabilitation activity days and 40 hours unpaid work.
Judge Kitson, who also banned Young from driving for 12 months, told her: “The reading in your breath alcohol sample was exceptionally high. You really should not have gone near your own vehicle on this occasion.
“It is only through the appropriate intervention of the car park staff that you weren’t able to leave the car park and place not only yourself but other people at risk.”
Dutch airline KLM declined to comment on Young’s case followingthe court hearing.