Stansted Airport plane drama: Bomb hoax accused appears in Court

Tuesday, 1 October 2013 00:50 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A passenger who allegedly threatened that there was a bomb on board a SriLankan Airlines flight which was diverted to Stansted Airport has appeared in Court on Thursday. Alan Patey, 49, of no fixed address, has been charged with communicating false information to a crew member to induce a belief that “a thing liable to explode or ignite was present in the aircraft hold”. However, he did not enter a plea when he appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates Court this morning. Patey, a slim, shaven headed man with a grey beard, was remanded in custody for a preliminary hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on 2 December. There was no application for bail. The SriLankan Airlines A330 Airbus left Colombo at 1 p.m. local time on Friday (20 September) with 252 passengers and 13 aircrew on board. It was bound for London Heathrow and due to land at 7:05 p.m. However, it was diverted to Stansted Airport after the emergency was declared when it reached UK airspace. It landed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Essex terminal. The plane was searched but no device was found. Patey is alleged to have told cabin staff there was a device on board in the hold of the aircraft and to tell the pilot not to land because otherwise it would explode. Other passengers are said to have been in earshot during the exchange. Prosecutor Angela Hughes said when Patey left Sri Lanka he was unwell, suffering from cellulitis (inflammation of the skin). Patey and another man were being deported from Sri Lanka because their visas had expired. Defending, Julie Brimble said before Patey lived in Sri Lanka he had lived in Qatar. He had no address in the UK. “He was in a deportation camp in Sri Lanka before he was on the flight and treated extremely badly by the authorities, which is why he was unwell on the plane,” she said.