Pair deny plane bomb threat

Fighter jets were scrambled to intercept a commercial aircraft after two passengers threatened to blow the plane up at 30,000 feet, a court has heard.

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Jury told: neither accused a "terrorist or extremist'

Chelmsford Crown Court jurors heard neither was a "terrorist nor a political or religious extremist".

Prosecutor Brian O'Neill QC said that although neither man was capable of carrying out the threats, the claim had been made deliberately and the pilot had no option but to take it seriously.

He said the day Pakistan airlines flights PK709 took off from Lahore heading for Manchester. It never arrived at its intended destination.

As a result of the behaviour of these two defendants, especially Mr Safdar, the flight had to be diverted to Stansted and was escorted by two RAF Typhoon fighter jets.

This behaviour involved threats to kill members of the cabin crew, threats to kill passengers and threats to blow up the plane whilst it was in flight.

Such utterances, if made at ground level, may sometimes be capable of being ignored or not being taken seriously but when those threats are made in flight at 30,000 feet on a commercial jet, that's not an option."

– Brian O'Neill QC

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