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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 7 August, 2020

'Disgusting': Innocent couple arrested over Gatwick drone say they feel violated

The couple was completely innocent.

A screengrab from the couple's statement to Sky News.
A screengrab from the couple's statement to Sky News.
Image: Sky News

THE ENGLISH COUPLE who were wrongly arrested over suspicion of involvement in the Gatwick drone crisis have said that the way they have been treated is “disgusting”. 

Elaine Kirk and Paul Gait were arrested by police on Saturday. But they were released without charge and police have said they were completely innocent. 

 The police swooped after three days of disruption from Wednesday to Friday, affecting 140,000 passengers.

“Both people have fully co-operated with our enquiries and I am satisfied that they are no longer suspects in the drone incidents at Gatwick,” Sussex Police detective chief superintendent Jason Tingley said in a statement. 

Parts of the UK media named the couple and used their photograph. The Daily Mail’s front page carried a photo of the couple with the headline: “Are these the morons who ruined Christmas?”

Speaking today on Sky News, Paul Gait said the way he and his wife have been treated was nothing short of disgusting.

He said: “As you can imagine we are feeling completely violated – our home has been searched and our privacy completely exposed. 

“Our names, photos and other personal information has been broadcast throughout world. We are deeply distressed as are our family and friends and we are currently receiving medical care. 

“The way in which were were initially perceived was disgusting although those who knew us didn’t doubt us for a second. We are totally overwhelmed by the support from people over the world and we’d like to thank every single one of them that did that.”

Tingley said the two arrests came after a tip-off from a member of the public, adding that he appreciated the released pair’s cooperation in the investigation.

While the man was a model helicopter enthusiast, reports quoted his astonished boss as saying he could vouch for him having actually been at work throughout the drama.

Under recently introduced laws in Britain, drones cannot be flown near aircraft or within a kilometre of an airport, or at an altitude of over 120 metres.

Violators face up to five years in prison for endangering an aircraft.

Gatwick, around 50 kilometre south of London, is Europe’s eighth-busiest airport.

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