A drunk passenger on a flight from Spain called a crew member a "queer" when he was refused more alcohol, a court heard today.

The man was flying from Barcelona to London Gatwick when 40 minutes prior to landing he went to use the toilet at the front of the plane and then asked to sit in a different seat.

When this was arranged he went to collect his luggage and "appeared aggressive to staff tying to interact with him".

The 29-year-old was refused drink services particularly alcohol which "enraged" the man, who then became abusive towards steward Joseph McGinlay on the Easyjet flight.

Prosecuting Graham Heath said staff had noticed that the defendant was 'in drink.' He added: "His behaviour did attract the attention of staff as during the flight he became rather loud and was swearing.

"About 40 minutes prior to landing, he came to the front of the aircraft to use the loo and asked to sit in another seat.

"That was no issue particularly with that.

"For some unknown reason he then went to collect his on-board luggage.

"He appeared aggressive to staff trying to interact with him, particularly Mr McGinlay.

"He was refused service of other drinks, particularly alcohol which clearly enraged him.

"He used words to the effect of "you're a queer" and was given a verbal warning."

Reading from a statement from Mr McGinlay, Mr Heath added: "Mr McGinlay said 'I told him to keep his mouth shut. I moved him to another seat, a window seat, so if he moved I had time to react'."

Portsmouth Magistrates Court heard that the defendant also told the crew member 'I am going to take you down'.

He did not comply with the seatbelt-on light which came on and then began dismantling a lighter in his pocket and putting the parts between his knuckles.

Mr Heath said: "He was told he had crossed the line.

"The seatbelt light came on, the defendant did not comply with that particular request.

"It seems he had a lighter in his pocket and he started to take it apart.

"The parts were between his knuckles while he was staring at Mr McGinlay and making punching gestures.

"The captain was made aware of the situation and made an announcement for everyone to stay in their seats.

"The police had been alerted at this point.

"He replied: 'I am getting off the plane'."

The plane landed as scheduled at Gatwick airport on Saturday, August 22 and he was arrested.

Defending Emma Charlton said the defendant had been living in Spain and was returning to live in England with his family and had issues with alcohol and drugs.

She said: "He is a man of good character until these offences.

"He was depressed and his family arranged for him to come back to the UK.

"His father, who is in court today, was waiting for him to get back and then got a call from police saying your son has been arrested."

She added: "What comes across in the pre-sentence report and talking to him, he shows real remorse to the police officers, his family and the air crew."

The court heard the the defendant was running his own business in Spain and had a "lifestyle where he used drugs and was drinking to excess".

The defendant admitted being drunk in an aircraft, using threatening/abusive or insulting words to cause fear of unlawful violence and causing racially aggravated harassment/alarm or distress at an earlier hearing.

He also admitted a number of other charges including criminal damage, assault by beating, making a threat to kill and possession of cannabis.

Chair of the Magistrates Susie Hewett deferred sentencing to the Crown Court on January 22.