On December 21 last year Nicholas “Nikki” Springthorpe, an insurance executive of excellent character, was on board an Emirates flight from Dubai to Birmingham when a combination of “somewhat bizarre circumstances” culminated in the unfortunate boss of One Call Insurance being arrested and subsequently landed with a £3,205 fine from Birmingham magistrates.

Or at least that’s the story Bankstone News saw splashed across the webpages of that leading pictorial purveyor of scantily clad celebrity flesh, MailOnline.

According to this publication, Mr Springthorpe (or Springthopre, as the website originally construed his name), found himself caught up concatenation of contretemps after he was witnessed acting tired and emotional in the top-deck business-class bar of an Emirates Airbus A380.

Fellow passengers attested that Mr S was conversing loudly with a travelling companion and with other occupants of the bar and using language not perhaps ideally suited to polite company. With something less that complete specificity, a gratuitously sweary Karen Cockpit, prosecuting, is quoted by the MailOnline clarifying that “the defendant was using words like **** and ****, but not **** and certainly not ****.”

It was while thus engaged in carousing and conversing that Mr S is alleged to have taken vigorous exception to the presence of two children in the bar area and to have subsequently become involved in a combative discussion (perhaps even a scuffle, but not necessarily a full-blown brawl) with their father.

Barry Cuttle, defending, noted that in a state of inebriated exhaustion consequent upon a recent divorce, a holiday in Singapore, a flight thence to Dubai, having had a couple of drinks, and now enduring the fresh ordeal of the Emirates business class bar (imagine an Intercity buffet carriage with better lighting), Mr S perceived a brace of crawling children as a clear and present ‘danger’ and felt he had no option but to voice his emphatic exception to their inappropriate presence in a drinking environment.

Be that as it may, angry words and a certain amount of argy-bargy ensued between Mr S and the father before the latter, perhaps prudently, elected to yield the bar arena to Mr S.

When Mr S himself decided to return to his seat, he had the misfortune to become involved along the way in two further heated exchanges with other passengers. The second of these, Mr Cuttle claimed, saw a passenger disturbed whilst ‘listening to music’ leaping to his feet, seizing Mr S by the throat, and shaking him.

And yet, the unfortunate Mr S was arrested and fined, whilst the would-be strangler was merely cautioned!

Mr Cuttle fully accepted that his client may have been a tad boisterous due to the exceptional exonerating circumstances noted above, but insisted that the One Call boss was now very sorry, upset, and indeed retrospectively disgusted at his own behaviour, and was by no means the kind of person who makes a habit of getting into drunken fights on aeroplanes.

And let’s face it, which of us has not, when confronted in our cups with the extreme provocation of poorly supervised children, especially after 20 hours without a decent kip, felt moved to unleash a bit of inner rage.

At Bankstone News we do it all the time, which may be why the council took the kids off us.

Congestion on the A380 (artist’s impression)



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