Airline to refer DJ’s case to British police

AER LINGUS is to ask the British authorities to investigate radio presenter Neil Prendeville for committing a lewd act on an Aer Lingus flight from London to Cork last October.

The move by Aer Lingus comes as it emerged that Cork 96FM chief executive Kieran McGeary told staff at the station that Mr Prendeville is scheduled to resume broadcasting the station’s flagship morning radio show on Monday next, after five months off-air.

Mr Prendeville is expected to do an hour-long interview with PJ Coogan on the station at 11am today.

Aer Lingus this week resolved to ask the British authorities to investigate the matter after the Director of Public Prosecutions decided Mr Prendeville should not be prosecuted in this jurisdiction following an investigation by Gardaí.

The DPP did not give a reason for his decision earlier this month but the female witnesses were told it was due to a jurisdictional technicality.

The Cork 96FM presenter exposed himself and masturbated in public view of two Aer Lingus air hostesses and a female passenger, Irish Examiner journalist Niamh Hennessy, as the aircraft taxied to the runway at Heathrow Airport en route to Cork on October 19.

An internal Aer Lingus investigation concluded that “a criminal offence may have occurred” and the airline has now decided to refer the matter to the “relevant” British authorities.

Mr Prendeville, who has publicly apologised for the incident, says he has no memory of what happened due to a combination of alcohol and painkillers. Mr Prendeville said he had no comment to make when contacted last night.

Any complaint to the British authorities would be investigated by the Metropolitan Police, who have jurisdiction at Heathrow.

A spokesman for the Met said they would have to assess a complaint first before deciding if it warranted investigation. If an investigation proceeds, British Police could request anybody directly involved in the case to come to England to be interviewed.

If all involved in the case gave their consent, gardaí could simply send the statements they’ve already gathered directly to the Metropolitan Police who would use them as part of their investigation.

The British Crown Prosecution Service said lewd acts come under the remit of “offending public decency”.

If such a case was referred to a magistrate’s court anyone found guilty of such an offence could face a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a maximum fine of Stg£5,000 (€5,700).

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