SA woman spared jail after drunken plane grope
A South African woman who admitted being drunk on a plane and groping a male air steward was spared jail on Monday after a London court was told of her battle against alcoholism.
The Cape Times newspaper reported on Tuesday that Katherine Goldberg, 25, was on a Virgin Atlantic flight from Johannesburg to London when she drank nearly 500ml of whisky and then made "strong sexual advances" to the man, grabbing his groin.
Last month, the woman, who is a teacher, pleaded guilty to sexual assault and being drunk on an aircraft following the August flight, but magistrates decided the case was too serious to be dealt with in a lower court.
As part of her sentencing, she was fined UK1500 (R19,500) for being drunk on an aircraft and handed an 11 month community order, to be supervised by the probation service, for the sexual assault. In addition, she is to pay costs and do 80 hours' unpaid work.
Prosecutor James O'Connell said her behaviour had been progressively worse during the course of the overnight flight.
He said: "When it became apparent that she was under the influence of alcohol, a member of the cabin crew moved her to the galley area and supervised her in his care.
"However her antics changed to a more sexual nature, making suggestions to him. She then sat on his lap and grabbed hold of his genitalia through his trousers."