Manodh Marks was suffering from a drug-induced psychosis when he made the threats. (AAP: David Crosling, file photo)
A man who threatened to set off a bomb onboard a flight from Melbourne while in a drug-induced psychosis has been jailed for 12 years.
Manodh Marks, then aged 25, forced Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 to Kuala Lumpur to turn back shortly after take-off, when he retrieved a portable speaker and battery pack from his bag and falsely claimed it was a bomb.
“I have a bomb with me … I want to talk to the pilot,” Marks told passengers.
In sentencing, County Court judge Michael McInerney said Marks ran to the cockpit door and announced that he had a bomb and “wanted to destroy the plane”.
“The passengers and crew certainly were not only concerned, but convinced, that you were indeed in possession of a bomb,” he said.
The Sri Lankan man was tackled to the ground by passengers, who used plastic cables to bind his hands and feet until the plane landed back at Melbourne Airport 15 minutes later.
Heavily armed police board the flight about 90 minutes after the threat. (Supplied: Andrew Leoncelli)
The court heard he took the drug ice, which induced a psychotic episode, on the way to the airport.
The catering student had been released from a psychiatric facility on the day of the flight.
He pleaded guilty to attempting to take control of an aircraft, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ jail.
Marks will serve a minimum nine years’ jail and likely be deported on his release.
Flight MH128 took off from Tullamarine at 11:26pm on May 31 last year with more than 220 passengers aboard.
Within a few minutes of take-off, Marks had left his seat and retrieved two items from his bag in the overhead locker before making the threat.
Police were criticised for the way they handled the situation, with the specialist unit taking about 90 minutes to board the plane and remove him.
Passengers were not permitted to leave the plane until 1:30am.
Marks was detained on the floor of the plane and held down by a flight attendant. (Twitter: Saroki19)
Marks was initially charged with multiple offences, some of which carried a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
But prosecutors dropped some charges, leaving a single charge of attempting to take control of an aircraft.
The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court was told in December that Marks, who had been living at Dandenong in Melbourne’s south-east, had a psychiatric illness.
Passengers spoke to authorities on the tarmac after the incident. (Supplied: Andrew Leoncelli)