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British socialite acquitted in flight row

September 17, 2009 15:18 IST

A British socialite, who was accused of indulging in obscene acts while being drunk during a Bangalore-London Kingfisher flight in March this year, has been acquitted.

Clare Irby, a descendant of the Guinness brewing family, was accused of drinking up to 12 glasses of red wine and stripping down to her knickers and letting a stranger grope her breasts during a flight.

But a jury at the Iseworth crown Court unanimously cleared her of being drunk aboard the aircraft. After the judgment, a tearful Irby said she was both "delighted and relieved" her ordeal was over.

In a statement, her solicitor Richard Slade said: "Clare simply wants to say that she's delighted and relieved that she has been acquitted on this charge.

"She wishes in particular to thank the jury for the time and careful consideration they have given this case and she now wants to be allowed a short period of quiet to enjoy some time with her family, in particular her young son."

Irby constantly denied being drunk, saying she was just "tipsy" as she was suffering from sleep deprivation after getting only two-and-a-half hours' sleep in 48 hours.

She insisted she had full control of her faculties, but admitted that she was "curt" with the flight attendants and "not as polite as I usually am".

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