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

Blog Posts

Government plans to give more protection to gig economy employees


The gig economy cases keep on coming. Both the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the…

Read More
Upcoming Events

The Great East Run


A Gotelee team will be running The Great East Run on Sunday 16th at…

Read More
News Posts

Time to Talk Day 2019


  Mental health and well-being is not just a tick box exercise.  In 2016/17…

Read More


"Approachable, very efficient, always willing to take my calls and update me."

- SH

"We were very pleased to have Jade as our solicitor, the service was excellent and we felt kept in the loop which minimised stress"

- CT

"I have used Tracey Laflin at Gotelee on a number of occasions and in my opinion, she is simply the most efficient conveyancing solicitor I have ever worked with. From the outset, she took the time to understand my specific business requirements and to date, she has exceeded all of my expectations."

- Dale Fiddy - Portobello Developments Ltd

"I don't think this house sale would have pulled together without Jo's determination and expertise. Excellent!"

- MT

"Jade Shelton was absolutely fantastic!! Professional and proactive at all times."

- JH

"This is by far the go-to firm for any issues. You are made to feel valued from the outset and they are so confident in what they do. Wouldn't recommend any other. Thank you Hugh and Max."

- Ros Jones

"Domini was very fast and efficient in carrying out her work for me - she was also very good at explaining things to me"


"Prompt, helpful, polite and very professional service"


"The ease that we could access and speak to Pat Smith - Thank you"


"We found Rachel Dawson outstanding, polite, professional and caring."


Please select preferred method of contact

* We will only contact you by telephone if you select this as primary form of contact. All web enquiries will be stored on our website for 30 days.