Banker cleared of assaulting BA cabin crew after taking sleeping pills

Bankier, 33, is cleared of assaulting BA cabin crew after taking sleeping pills and drinking three glasses of wine and Baileys and apologises for headbutting staff as he walks free

  • William Clegg said he had ‘no conscious controlduring August 2019 voorval
  • Clegg was accused of assaulting five BA staff during flight from US to Heathrow
  • 33-year-old said he had taken Ambien sleeping pills along with wine and Baileys
  • Jury members at Isleworth Crown Court found him not guilty on all charges
  • William Clegg, 33, claimed he had 'no conscious control' during the mid-air ruckus on a transatlantic flight between San Jose in the US and Heathrow

    William Clegg, 33, claimed he had ‘no conscious controlduring the mid-air ruckus on a transatlantic flight between San Jose in the US and Heathrow

    A west Londen banker had today been cleared of assaulting five BA cabin crew after taking a cocktail of alkohol and sleeping pills.

    William Clegg, 33, claimed he had ‘no conscious controlduring the mid-air ruckus on a transatlantic flight between San Jose in the US and Heathrow.

    He told jury members he had taken two Ambien sleeping pills, along with three glasses of wine and two travel-sized bottles of Baileys, prior to the incident in August 2019.

    While under the influence of the drugs and alcohol, Clegg allegedly assaulted five BA cabin crew.

    This included attempting to headbutt a female flight attendant, and pulling a male flight attendant onto the ground, a court previously heard.

    The banker, who lives in London’s pricey Notting Hill district, denied the allegations and has been on trial at Isleworth Crown Court.

    Today he was found not guilty on all counts after the jury deliberated for just under an hour, following the four day trial.

    Clegg gave a thumbs up to his friend’s father in the public gallery and broke down in tears as the not guilty verdicts were returned.

    In a statement given outside court, he apologised for his actions and criticised prosecutors urging them to ‘review their handling of similar cases going forward’.

    Clegg allegedly assaulted five BA cabin crew (op die foto: Library image of a BA flight), including attempting to headbutt a female flight attendant, and pulling a male flight attendant onto the ground, a court previously heard

    Clegg allegedly assaulted five BA cabin crew (op die foto: Library image of a BA flight), including attempting to headbutt a female flight attendant, and pulling a male flight attendant onto the ground, a court previously heard

    Mr Clegg’s defence was that his conduct on the BA flight was caused by combining alcohol with two Ambien tabletsthe side effects of which he was unaware.

    Why medics recommend never mixing sleeping pills and alcohol

    There are many different types of sleeping pills, but doctors generally advice patients to never mix them with alcohol.

    That’s because alcohol can increase the effects of sedatives and hypnotics, increasing the risk of an overdose.

    The sleeping pills can also increase the effects of alcohol.

    Common side effects of mixing sleeping pills and alcohol include: Suppression of the nervous system, increased risk of overdose, increased risk of sleeping pill addiction and increased risk of alcohol use disorder.

    Other side effects can include memory impairment, sleep walking and worsened quality of sleep.

    But it can also lead to more severe effects including a risk of death.

    William Clegg’s case is not the first when a person has been cleared of a criminal offence after claiming to have mixed alcohol and sleeping pills.

    The case bears similarities to that of Ryder Cup winning golfer Olesen who last month was also found not guilty of a series of charges after drinking alcohol, along with taking his girlfriend’s Ambien tablet on a British Airways flight.

    The 31-year-old Dane said he was ’embarrassed and ashamedby accounts of what happened on board the flight after he woke up with no memory.

    He was found not guilty for sexual assault and assault by beating, while the judge discharged the third count of being drunk on an aircraft.

    In 2002, REM guitarist Peter Buck was also cleared of going on a drunken rampage aboard a British Airways plane in which he sprayed flight attendants with the contents of a pot of yoghurt.

    The jury found him not guilty of being charged with being drunk on an aircraft, two counts of common assault, and one charge of damaging BA crockery.

    He did not deny his behaviour, but claimed an Ambien sleeping pill reacted violently with alcoholturning him into a ‘non-insane automaton’.

    Bron: Alcohol.org

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    ‘If somebody told meor had I read the leafletand it said there was a one in a million chance of this happening, I would not have taken the pills,’ hy het gesê.

    Mr Clegg was represented by Trevor Burke QC, who previously successfully defended golfer Thorbjorn Olesen, after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman on a BA flight from Nashville to London after mixing alcohol with Ambien.

    The Ryder cup golfer’s defence was that the combination of sleeping pills and alcohol caused him to become an ‘automaton’.

    Mr Burke QC told the jury that at the time of the incident Mr Clegg was working as a merchant banker.

    He would regularly fly to clients in Japan and the Middle East, and had taken 90 work-related flights in the year before the incident.

    The jury also heard that the former Abingdon school pupil had suffered from nocturnal epilepsy between the ages of eight and 13.

    As a result of this period of childhood nocturnal epilepsy, he suffers from insomniastruggling to get between four to six hours sleep, hy het gesê.

    A few weeks before the flight, Mr Clegg believes that he suffered a day-time epileptic fit for the first time at a wedding in Majorca.

    The incident was witnessed by two doctors at the wedding, his defence barrister added.

    Following medical examination back in England, Mr Clegg said that doctors told him to avoid driving for six months.

    He then travelled to California, where he and his girlfriend rented a villa with a swimming pool.

    He told the jury that his girlfriend also suffers insomnia and takes Ambien to deal with it.

    While in California, he accompanied his girlfriend to a doctor in Beverley Hills for her Ambien prescription a few days before he was due to fly home.

    He said that at the doctor’s office he was offered an Ambien prescription for the first time to deal with his insomnia.

    He said his girlfriend often took Ambien after drinking alcohol without any negative effects.

    ‘My girlfriend had taken it numerous times, two to three pills, with or without wine,’ hy het gesê.

    ‘She is half my size and never had any adverse effects.

    In a statement following the four day trial at Isleworth Crown Court, hy het gesê: ‘I am extremely relieved at the verdict and would like to thank my legal team Trevor Burke QC and Simons Muirhead Burton solicitors.

    ‘I would like to sincerely apologise to the BA crew involved in the incident.

    ‘My actions were totally out of character, and as the jury, found the result of prescription drugs.

    ‘I would urge the CPS to review their handling of similar cases going forward.

    ‘The medical evidence on which my defence relied was available over two years ago and accepting it then would have avoided the substantial waste of prosecution costs.

    The case bears similarities to that of Ryder Cup winning golfer Olesen who last month was also found not guilty of a series of charges after drinking alcohol, along with taking his girlfriend’s Ambien tablet on a British Airways flight.

    The case bears similarities to that of Ryder Cup winning golfer Thorbjorn Olesen (op die foto) who last month was also found not guilty of a series of charges after drinking alcohol, along with taking his girlfriend's Ambien tablet on a British Airways flight

    The case bears similarities to that of Ryder Cup winning golfer Thorbjorn Olesen (op die foto) who last month was also found not guilty of a series of charges after drinking alcohol, along with taking his girlfriend’s Ambien tablet on a British Airways flight

    The 31-year-old Dane said he was ’embarrassed and ashamedby accounts of what happened on board the flight after he woke up with no memory.

    He was found not guilty for sexual assault and assault by beating, while the judge discharged the third count of being drunk on an aircraft.

    In 2002, REM guitarist Peter Buck was also cleared of going on a drunken rampage aboard a British Airways plane in which he sprayed flight attendants with the contents of a pot of yoghurt.

    The jury found him not guilty of being charged with being drunk on an aircraft, two counts of common assault, and one charge of damaging BA crockery.

    He did not deny his behaviour, but claimed an Ambien sleeping pill reacted violently with alcoholturning him into a ‘non-insane automaton’.

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