Lawyer jailed for swearing and spitting at cabin crew is found dead

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Simone Burns, who was jailed following a racist rant on a flight, has been found dead (PA)

A human rights lawyer who was jailed following a racist air rage incident has been found dead just days after she was released.

Simone Burns is thought to have killed herself after her body was found at the foot of the Beachy Head cliffs in East Sussex.

The 50-year-old had recently been released from Bronzefield women’s prison, where she had been serving a six-month prison sentence following the incident on an Air India flight.

Burns was filmed swearing and spitting on an Air India flight (Grab)

A police spokesman said: “The body of a woman found at Beachy Head on June 1 has been identified as Simone Burns from Hove.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and the next of kin have been informed. The matter has been passed to the coroner’s office.”

A friend told the Telegraph that Burns had been targeted by trolls following her conviction.

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Burns was filmed shouting, swearing and spitting at cabin crew in business class on the plane after she was refused a fourth bottle of wine with her breakfast shortly after takeoff.

She shouted: “F*** Air India is useless, I will say what I want.”

Burns spat in the face of one of the cabin crew and grabbed their arm, and racially abused other crew members and passengers.

Burns had been released after serving a six-month prison sentence (PA)

During her court case, prosecutor Lauren Smith said: “[Burns] got up from her seat and began swearing and shouting. She was shouting that she was a ‘f**king international lawyer’ and telling them to ‘f*** off’.”

Despite given two verbal warnings by staff and cabin crew, as well as a written warning from the captain of the plan, Burns continued with her tirade and was arrested in London.

Judge Nicholas Wood told her at Isleworth Crown Court: “The experience of a drunk unrepentant irrational person in the confines of an aircraft is frightening not least on a long haul flight and poses a risk to safety.”

He added: “To spit in a cabin crew member’s face at close range is insulting and upsetting. Another member of staff said in his 34 years of work he had never been treated that way by a woman.”

Burns was sentenced to six months in prison for being drunk on aircraft and was also given two months behind bars for assault and ordered to pay £300 compensation.

For confidential emotional support at times of distress, contact The Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123 or emailing

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