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Naomi Campbell pleads guilty to police assault

Temperamental model Naomi Campbell was sentenced to 200 hours of community service Friday after pleading guilty to assaulting two police officers after an “air rage” incident at Heathrow Airport.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Temperamental model Naomi Campbell was sentenced to 200 hours of community service Friday after pleading guilty to assaulting two police officers after an “air rage” incident at Heathrow Airport.

She was also ordered to pay 200 pounds ($400) to each of the police officers she attacked and 150 pounds ($300) to Miles Sutherland, the captain of the British Airways plane she disrupted, in addition to a 2,300 pound ($4,600) fine.

She could have received six months’ jail time and a heavy fine for the six offenses stemming from a violent spat in April with British Airways cabin crew and police who removed her from a flight in handcuffs while waiting on the tarmac at Heathrow.

Prosecutors said Campbell used foul language, kicked and spat at police, accused airline personnel of racism and threatened to sue them after she was told that one of her bags had not been placed on the flight to Los Angeles in April.

Campbell was traveling in first class and became abusive to the captain after he left the cockpit to personally explain to her why her bag — and those of many other travelers — had not been placed on the flight.

Prosecutors said she shouted a number of obscenities and tried to kick the police who were summoned to remove her after she “ordered” Sutherland to delay takeoff and look for her missing piece of luggage.

At one point, the black model accused the airline staff of being racist and said they would not have removed her from the flight if she was white. She told a white policewoman that the only reason she was being arrested was because she was “black and famous” and threatened to sue.

Magistrate Peter Yiacoumi told Campbell that she was getting credit for past good behavior and for pleading guilty at the first hearing, but said the crimes could not go unpunished. Prosecutors said she kicked and spat at police officers, used foul language repeatedly, and had to be removed from the plane.

“These offenses are aggravated because they were committed within a lengthy incident in a confined space on an aircraft,” he said. “Whilst we accept that the loss of your suitcase would have been stressful, your subsequent behavior cannot be justified.”

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After the sentencing, Campbell’s spokesman, Alan Edwards, said the catwalk star was “very, very relieved” the incident was over. He said she felt she had been treated fairly and predicted she would work hard during her community service.

The incident happened shortly after the opening of Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 building, which did not function properly at first, resulting in many cancellations and lost bags.

Campbell’s lawyer said she was upset because the missing bag contained an outfit that she was contractually obligated to wear at an event in Los Angeles.

Campbell, 38, arrived in court Friday morning in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes and was immediately swarmed by paparazzi. She did not make a statement to the court beyond confirming her name and her address, and her lawyer entered a guilty plea.

Her spokesman, Alan Edwards, said outside the court that Campbell regretted the incident and looked forward to telling her side of the story.

In the past, Campbell has been charged with throwing objects at members of her staff.

Last year, she was sentenced to a week of community service spent mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms in New York City after admitting “reckless assault” for throwing a mobile phone at her housekeeper.

Earlier, she had agreed to take an “anger management” course after a similar attack on an employee in Canada. That employee claimed Campbell threw a mobile phone at her and threatened to throw her out of a moving car.

Other staff members have also brought charges and lawsuits against Campbell, one of the most highly paid models in the world.