Aviation

Aussie model avoids 21-year jail sentence for assaulting flight attendant

A former Miss Universe Australia finalist has broken down crying in a United States court after avoiding a 21-year jail sentence for assaulting a flight attendant.

In March, Travel Weekly reported that Adau Akui Atem Mornyang, 24, was awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of assaulting a United Airlines flight attendant while flying from Melbourne to Los Angeles.

But the Australian Associated Press and multiple media reports have revealed that she has instead been sentenced 100 hours of community service and three years of probation.

“I am a human being who made a terrible mistake,” Mornyang told US district court judge Cormac Carney on Monday, as reported by The Guardian.

The judge reportedly cited what he described as Mornyang’s “tragic history” of sexual and physical abuse and alcoholism.

“It’s quite sad and tragic,” Carney said.

Prosecutors reportedly recommended she serve a month behind bars, while probation officers recommended three years of probation and a $2,850 fine.

In March, the US Department of Justice said in a press release Mornyang had been found guilty of a felony charge of interference with a flight crew and a misdemeanour assault count.

Mornyang, who was en route to New York, said all she remembered was “waking up after sleeping for eight hours”. She claimed to have had two glasses of wine with prescription drugs before going to sleep.

“According to the evidence presented at trial, several hours into the flight, passengers approached a flight attendant to complain about Mornyang’s disruptive behaviour, which included flailing her arms and yelling obscenities and racial slurs,” the press release said.

“When the flight attendant approached to assess the situation, Mornyang began to shout at the the flight attendant and then slapped him across his face. The flight attendant attempted to retrain Mornyang until federal air marshals could assist.

“The federal air marshals were forced to stay with Mornyang in the rear galley of the plane for the remainder of the flight.”

Mornyang was born in South Sudan and moved to Australia when she was 10-years-old as a refugee. She has spoken out against racial tension in parts of Melbourne.

She recently modelled at New York Fashion Week and was a Miss World Australia Finalist.

Feature image source: Adau Mornyang/Instagram

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