UK socialite acquitted in Bangalore-London flight row


Clare Irby, a descendant of the Guinness brewing family, was accused of drinking up to 12 glasses of red wine and stripping down to her knickers and letting a stranger grope her breasts during a flight.
But a jury at the Iseworth crown Court unanimously cleared her of being drunk aboard the aircraft. After the judgement, a tearful Irby said she was both "delighted and relieved" her ordeal was over.

In a statement, her solicitor Richard Slade said: "Clare simply wants to say that she's delighted and relieved that she has been acquitted on this charge.
"She wishes in particular to thank the jury for the time and careful consideration they have given this case and she now wants to be allowed a short period of quiet to enjoy some time with her family, in particular her young son."

Irby constantly denied being drunk, saying she was just "tipsy" as she was suffering from sleep deprivation after getting only two-and-a-half hours' sleep in 48 hours.
She insisted she had full control of her faculties, but admitted that she was "curt" with the flight attendants and "not as polite as I usually am".

Judge John Denniss told the jurors they had to decide whether Irby was drunk on an aircraft while in the "territorial jurisdiction" of the UK.
This started about 20 minutes before the 10.5-hour flight landed at Heathrow at about 5pm, he said.

She denied fellow passenger Daniel Melia, 36, touched her breast, and said she did not strip to her knickers in order to change from her yellow skirt into warmer black leggings.
"He didn't touch me in any inappropriate manner. He didn't touch my breasts," she said.
Irby said she was simply "exhausted" trying to care for her two-year-old son on little sleep.

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