Emergency landing led to market trader John Lansdown harassing girl, court told
Gatwick airport, where
Lansdown's flight was redirected. Library picture
A market trader from Herne says the trauma of a being on a
flight that had to make an emergency landing led him to
harassing a girl he loved.
John Lansdown, 30, sent text messages that were "aggressive,
offensive and clearly designed to cause harassment" to Sophie Jones
- apparently because she had a new partner and would not return his
Canterbury Crown Court heard one message read: "You are
repulsive beyond words."
Lansdown, who also works at a pub in Grove Ferry, appeared for
sentence having admitted harassing Miss Jones.
Ian Foinette, prosecuting, said they had got to know each
other earlier this year and were friends on a casual basis. They
had gone out for drinks, but nothing more serious.
Later, Lansdown told the victim's sister that he loved Sophie,
but like a sister.
"I have read some of the messages. They were aggressive, offensive and clearly designed to cause harassment" – Judge Simon James
Mr Foinette said it was in April that he boarded a plane
destined for Florida that had to make an emergency landing at
Gatwick when one of the engines caught fire.
"It meant that there was a change in his personality," Mr
"He started to contact her with great regularity. He made calls
and sent text messages, which were harassment and a number of them
Miss Jones changed her mobile phone number and reported it to
Officers visited Lansdown, who lives in School Lane, and issued
him with a harassment warning, but he continued to contact her "to
a level which was annoying".
Miss Jones had begun a relationship with a man
called Luke King and had been showing police messages Lansdown had
sent her - including the one reading: "You are repulsive beyond
Mr Foinette went on: "These messages were insulting, aggressive
and offensive and she again reported this to police.
"Mr Lansdown provided a rambling account of how he had lent her
a new phone and was anxious to get it back.
"He admitted sending messages and said he had often been under
the influence of alcohol, adding that he felt a physical wreck
after the emergency landing. He put that forward as an excuse for
the conduct he had indulged in."
John Landsdown was
sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court
Lansdown has previous convictions for criminal damage,
threatening and abusive behaviour and possessing an offensive
Phil Rowley, defending, told the court his client had undergone
counselling after the emergency landing.
He said: "When the plane was diverted back to Gatwick, it was a
very traumatic experience."
Judge Simon James told Lansdown: "Your conduct towards the
victim became ever more concerning.
"I have read some of the messages. They were aggressive,
offensive and clearly designed to cause harassment. They were
"I take into account the apparent life-changing experience you
have had but that is no excuse."
Lansdown was handed a four-month jail sentence, suspended for a
He must do 160 hours' unpaid work, have 12 months of supervision
and pay £300 courts costs.
He was also given a restraining order preventing him from
contacting Miss Jones or Mr King.
- Click here for more news from across the county...