William Clegg assault trial: Banker, 33, is cleared of assaulting BA cabin crew after taking Ambien

William Clegg, 33, claimed he was in “no conscious control” during the airborne commotion on a transatlantic flight between San Jose in the US and Heathrow

A west London banker was acquitted today of assaulting five BA cabin crew after taking a cocktail of alcohol and sleeping pills.

William Clegg, 33, claimed he was in “no conscious control” during the airborne commotion on a transatlantic flight between San Jose in the US and Heathrow.

He told jury members he had taken two Ambien sleeping pills along with three glasses of wine and two travel-size bottles of Baileys prior to the incident in August 2019.

Under the influence of drugs and alcohol, Clegg allegedly assaulted five BA flight attendants.

This included attempting to headbutt a female flight attendant and dragging a male flight attendant to the ground, a court had previously heard.

The banker, who lives in expensive London’s Notting Hill, denied the allegations and was on trial at Isleworth Crown Court.

Today he was found not guilty of all charges after the jury deliberated for just under an hour after the four-day trial.

Clegg gave his friend’s father a thumbs-up in the bleachers and broke down in tears as the not-guilty verdicts were pronounced.

In a statement to the court, he apologized for his actions and criticized prosecutors, who asked them to “reconsider their handling of similar cases going forward.”

Clegg allegedly assaulted five BA cabin crew (pictured: library image of a BA flight), including attempting to headbutt a female flight attendant and dragged a male flight attendant to the ground, a court had previously heard

Clegg allegedly assaulted five BA cabin crew (pictured: library image of a BA flight), including attempting to headbutt a female flight attendant and dragged a male flight attendant to the ground, a court had previously heard

Mr Clegg’s defense was that his behavior on the BA flight was caused by the combination of alcohol with two Ambien tablets – the side effects of which he was unaware of.

Why medical professionals recommend never mixing sleeping pills and alcohol

There are many different types of sleeping pills, but doctors generally advise patients never to mix them with alcohol.

That’s because alcohol can increase the effects of sedatives and hypnotics, increasing the risk of overdose.

The sleeping pills can also increase the effects of alcohol.

Common side effects of mixing sleeping pills and alcohol include: nervous system suppression, increased risk of overdose, increased risk of sleeping pill addiction, and increased risk of alcohol use disorder.

Other side effects can include memory problems, sleepwalking, and worsening of sleep quality.

But it can also lead to more serious effects, including a risk of death.

The William Clegg case is not the first in which a person has been acquitted of a crime after alleging mixing alcohol and sleeping pills.

The case bears similarities to that of Ryder Cup winning golfer Olesen, who was also found not guilty of a number of charges last month after drinking alcohol and taking his girlfriend’s Ambien tablet on a British Airways flight.

The 31-year-old Dane said he was “embarrassed and mortified” by reports of what happened on board the plane after waking up with no memory.

He was found not guilty of sexual assault and assault, while the judge vacated the third count of drunk driving on an airplane.

In 2002, REM guitarist Peter Buck was also acquitted of a drunken rampage on board a British Airways plane, in which he sprayed flight attendants with the contents of a yogurt cup.

The jury found him not guilty on charges of being drunk on an airplane, two counts of combined assault and one count of damaging BA crockery.

He didn’t deny his behavior but did claim that an Ambien sleeping pill reacted violently with alcohol, turning him into a “non-crazy automaton”.

Source: Alcohol.org

“If someone had told me – or read the leaflet – and it said there was a one in a million chance this would happen, I wouldn’t have taken the pills,” he said.

Mr Clegg was represented by Trevor Burke QC, who previously successfully defended golfer Thorbjorn Olesen after winning has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman on a BA flight from Nashville to London after she mixed alcohol with Ambien.

The Ryder Cup golfer’s defense was that the combination of sleeping pills and alcohol caused him to become an ‘automaton’.

Mr Burke QC informed the jury that Mr Clegg was working as a merchant banker at the time of the incident.

He regularly flew to clients in Japan and the Middle East and had made 90 work-related flights in the year before the incident.

The jury also heard that the former Abingdon student had suffered from nocturnal epilepsy between the ages of eight and 13.

As a result of this childhood phase of nocturnal epilepsy, he suffers from insomnia — struggling to get between four and six hours of sleep, he said.

A few weeks before the flight, Mr. Clegg is said to have suffered an epileptic seizure for the first time during the day at a wedding in Mallorca.

The incident was observed by two doctors at the wedding, his defense attorney added.

After the medical examination in England, Mr Clegg said doctors told him not to drive for six months.

He then traveled to California, where he and his girlfriend rented a villa with a swimming pool.

He told the jury that his girlfriend also suffers from insomnia and is taking Ambien to help deal with it.

While in California, he accompanied his girlfriend to a doctor in Beverly Hills for her Ambien prescription a few days before his flight home.

He said that it was at the doctor’s office that he was first offered an Ambien prescription to treat his insomnia.

He said his girlfriend often took Ambien after drinking alcohol with no ill effects.

“My girlfriend has taken it many times, two to three pills, with or without wine,” he said.

“She’s half my size and has never had any side effects.”

In a statement following the four-day trial at Isleworth Crown Court, he said: “I am extremely relieved at the verdict and would like to thank my legal team, Trevor Burke QC, and the solicitors at Simons Muirhead Burton.

“I would like to sincerely apologize to the BA crew involved in the incident.

“My actions were totally out of character, and as a jury, I found the result of prescription drugs.

“I would urge the CPS to review their handling of similar cases in the future.

“The medical evidence on which my defense was based was available over two years ago and if it had been accepted then, the substantial waste of prosecution costs could have been avoided.”

The case bears similarities to that of Ryder Cup winning golfer Olesen, who was also found not guilty of a number of charges last month after drinking alcohol and taking his girlfriend’s Ambien tablet on a British Airways flight.

The case bears similarities to that of Ryder Cup winner Thorbjorn Olesen (pictured), who was also found not guilty of a number of charges last month after drinking alcohol and using his girlfriend's Ambien tablet on a British flight Airways had taken

The case bears similarities to that of Ryder Cup winner Thorbjorn Olesen (pictured), who was also found not guilty of a number of charges last month after drinking alcohol and using his girlfriend’s Ambien tablet on a British flight Airways had taken

The 31-year-old Dane said he was “embarrassed and mortified” by reports of what happened on board the plane after waking up with no memory.

He was found not guilty of sexual assault and assault, while the judge vacated the third count of drunk driving on an airplane.

In 2002, REM guitarist Peter Buck was also acquitted of a drunken rampage on board a British Airways plane, in which he sprayed flight attendants with the contents of a yogurt cup.

The jury found him not guilty on charges of being drunk on an airplane, two counts of combined assault and one count of damaging BA crockery.

He didn’t deny his behavior but did claim that an Ambien sleeping pill reacted violently with alcohol, turning him into a “non-crazy automaton”.

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