Airplane arsonist who started toilet fire at 33,000 feet has sentence doubled

4th October 2017

Airplane arsonist who started toilet fire at 33,000 feet has sentence doubled

A man who started a fire in the toilet of a plane carrying more than 200 passengers has had his prison term doubled after judges ruled the original sentence was too lenient.

Jon Cox, 46, had previously pleaded guilty to an offence of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and was sentenced to four years and six months in jail.

However, appeal judges agreed with the Attorney General that the punishment was unduly lenient and increased it to nine years and six months.

The Monarch Airbus was 10,700 metres (33,000ft) in the air and 100 miles (160km) from the Egyptian coast when the captain was told the crew were having difficulty extinguishing the blaze in a waste paper bin.

The captain issued a mayday call and was set to carry out an emergency landing on the flight from Birmingham to Sharm el-Sheikh in August 2015.

Fortunately, there was a passenger onboard who worked for a fire and rescue service who helped the crew deal with the blaze so the plane could complete its journey safely.

A smoke detector first went off an hour into the flight and a fire – in a different toilet – was put out by the crew. The second incident, a few hours later, occurred after the captain had issued a strongly worded warning about the “moronic” conduct of smoking on an aircraft.

Cox, of Kidderminster, had been drinking before and during the flight, and was rude, abusive and very aggressive when challenged by passengers and crew.

Victim impact statements painted a frightening picture of the distress suffered by the passengers and crew. The captain, who had flown for Monarch for 20 years, said he had never experienced an incident with so much potential danger.

Lady Justice Sharp, sitting with Mr Justice Warby and Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, said the potential for causing a disaster was “plain and obvious”.

“In our view, offending of this nature calls for a deterrent sentence,” she added.

How can Gotelee’s Criminal Law Solicitors help?

You never know when you may suddenly be facing investigation or prosecution by the police. If you are, you will need expert legal advice in your corner.

Our team of Criminal Law Solicitors can be with you at every step of the way, from interview to courtroom. We’ll help you understand the process, assess your situation and advise you on the best way forward.

We aren’t here to judge – just to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Gotelee has offices in Ipswich, Hadleigh, Felixstowe, Woodbridge and Melton. If you would like to know where you stand on any issue of criminal law, contact Hugh Rowland on 01473 298140 or at, or Howard Catherall on 01473 298167 or at

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