Tourist admits drunken police assault
A Canadian airline passenger has admitted assaulting three police officers minutes after landing in Bermuda.
Madeline Masters, 28, also pleaded guilty to offensive and indecent behaviour, after urinating on one of the officers she had just assaulted.
Masters landed at L.F. Wade International Airport at 1.47pm on Thursday aboard a WestJet flight from Toronto, and was due to enjoy a five-night holiday staying with a friend in Knapton Hill, Smith's.
Once the plane had stopped, the defendant — who had been unruly during the flight — bolted to the front and stepped outside.
She proceeded to behave aggressively towards security and customs officials, who had been informed of her conduct and were standing by.
Five officers from the Bermuda Police Service arrived shortly afterwards and tried to arrest Masters, who told them: “Get your f*****g hands off me.”
The defendant then threw herself backwards, causing one officer to hit her head on the ground.
While she was on the floor, Masters began kicking out violently — catching one officer in the face — until a third officer managed to restrain and handcuff her.
As police were leading her away, Masters bit an officer on the forearm, leaving two two-inch marks, and said: “Let my f*****g hands go.”
She then kneed another officer in the stomach and urinated on her once she was down.
After Masters had been taken to Hamilton Police Station, a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels was discovered in her luggage.
In Magistrates' Court yesterday morning, defence lawyer Charles Richardson explained that Masters had been travelling alone and bought the whiskey at duty-free to help cope with her severe anxiety of flying. He added that the veterinary nurse had not shown any indication of a substance abuse problem, and had instead been “overmedicating”, which led to her “totally unacceptable” behaviour.
“I think the regret and the remorse is self-evident,” said Mr Richardson of Masters, who appeared highly shaken and had extensive bruising on her arms and legs. “Worse than that, she's downright ashamed.”
He added that the incident was “totally out of character”, that Masters did not remember it and that she would not have believed her behaviour if anyone other than police officers had told her of it.
The charges against her were whittled down to four, after prosecutors agreed to drop one count of using threatening words, which stemmed from the defendant telling officers: “I'm going to f*****g kill you.”
When asked to explain herself in court, Masters said: “I'm really sorry. I regret everything. I'm ashamed, embarrassed and disgusted with myself. That's not me.
“I spoke to my mum last night — she's upset and she's disappointed.”
The defendant also apologised to her friend, who accompanied her to the hearing, and said that she would seek help from a therapist on her return to Canada.
She added: “This was one time and I will never do this again.
“I don't ever want to drink again, because I'm afraid this will happen.”
Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe agreed with the prosecution that a fine would be the most appropriate course of action. He warned Masters of the serious nature of assaulting police officers, but added that he was taking into account her guilty pleas, her expression of remorse and her clean criminal record.
Mr Wolffe also said that he believed the incident was a one-off, that it stemmed from an anxiety of flying and that the defendant would seek professional help. He fined Masters a total of $3,000 — $750 each for the three counts of assault and the one count of indecent behaviour.
Mr Wolffe added that he would allow immigration services to handle the defendant's exit from Bermuda, where she has formally been denied entry.
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