A RENFREW thug spent his birthday behind bars for spitting on his girlfriend on a plane as they were due to jet off on holiday.

Robert Owen Jackson and Tian Elizabeth Downie were due to fly to Turkey for a break.

But the pair were dragged off the Thomas Cook Airbus A321 set to fly from Glasgow Airport to Antalya following a bust-up where Jackson spat on Downie’s head.

The bust-up meant the couple lost their holiday and caused take off to be delayed for the remaining passengers by nine minutes.

Rather than spending his birthday abroad Jackson, 26, and Downie, 21, were detained and held overnight at Helen Street police station, in Glasgow’s Govan area.

Jackson woke up on his 26th birthday in a police cell and spent the majority of his day behind bars, being transferred to a custody van and then held in a cell at Paisley Sheriff Court before appearing in the dock.

He was released on bail for his trial to take place and admitted his guilt over the October 10, 2017, incident this week, pleading guilty to assaulting Downie by spitting on her and being drunk on the flight.

Procurator Fiscal Depute Frank Clarke told the court that an argument broke out between the couple and Jackson assaulted Downie by spitting on her.

The prosecutor added: “Staff on the aircraft reported this to the police. Both were spoken to and detained.

“Both of them had boarded the plane intoxicated.

“Police certainly describe him as being under the influence of alcohol and, because of that, he was not cautioned and charged. They were on the flight and sitting in their seats.”

Defence solicitor Robert Kerr said Ms Downie had to shoulder some of the blame for what had happened.

The lawyer said: “It’s fair to say they were both as bad as each other.

“She would appear to have been aggressive, she spat at him and he spat back at her.

“She was also arrested and charged.”

The lawyer also said that Ms Downie punched Jackson and grabbed at his face during the melee, and was not scared of him.

Sheriff Seith Ireland opted to defer sentence on Jackson until later this month for background reports to be prepared.

As he did so he warned Jackson he could be jailed, making reference to a previous conviction for assaulting a former partner, adding: “This might be a worrying indication about your attitude.”

Prosecutors confirmed Ms Downie was held in police custody overnight and liberated without appearing in the dock.

A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook Airlines said at the time of their arrests: “The safety of our customers and crew is always our first priority.”

Jackson, of Porterfield Road, Renfrew, could be caged for as long as 12 months when he returns to the dock to learn his fate.