Naomi Campbell avoids jail for "air rage"

LONDON (Reuters) - Naomi Campbell was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid community work on Friday after the supermodel pleaded guilty to assaulting two police officers during an expletive-filled “air rage” incident in April.

The 38-year-old had faced up to six months in prison and a fine of 5,000 pounds for the assaults, but Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in west London instead imposed a community service sentence under a 12-month order.

Wearing a dark suit and sunglasses, Campbell was escorted by her minders through a large scrum of reporters and photographers waiting outside the court building.

The court heard how she swore and screamed abuse at the captain of the Los Angeles-bound British Airways flight when she learned one of her bags had gone missing.

In April, the airline was beset by problems with check-in and baggage handling systems at the newly opened 4.3 billion pound Terminal 5. Hundreds of flights were cancelled and tens of thousands of suitcases went missing.

Prosecutors said Campbell ordered the captain to find her missing luggage and became violent when police tried to escort her off the aircraft. The model pleaded guilty to assaulting two police officers and to a public order offence.

In addition to the community service, Campbell was ordered to pay compensation of 200 pounds to one of the police officers, 150 pounds to the captain and a further 2,300 pounds in fines.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell (C) hides her face as she is escorted into Uxbridge Magistrates Court in west London, June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor


Campbell’s spokesman, Alan Edwards, said outside court that she conceded the incident had been “regrettable”. A spokeswoman added: “I think she feels the whole situation is unfortunate and of course she will execute her community service.”

Shortly after the incident, media reported Campbell had been banned from flying on British Airways.

Although the airline declined to confirm the ban, it said: “All incidents of abuse against passengers or staff are taken extremely seriously by BA and will not be tolerated.”

It is not the first time Campbell has been in trouble with the law.

She spent five days mopping floors and cleaning toilets as part of a community service sentence in New York last year after throwing a mobile phone at her housekeeper during an argument over a pair of jeans.

She was also ordered to attend anger management classes.

In a previous incident with a telephone in 1998, Campbell assaulted an assistant, Georgina Galanis.

The model agreed in 2000 to plead guilty to the assault in exchange for expressing remorse, paying Galanis an undisclosed amount of money and attending anger management classes.

(Additional reporting by Avril Ormsby and Andrew Hough, editing by Paul Casciato)

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