Flight Passenger Sent to Mental Hospital

Mayo waived her right to a probable cause hearing on a charge of interfering with a flight crew.

A woman whose actions aboard a London-to-Washington flight provoked a security scare will be held indefinitely at a residential mental health facility in New Hampshire, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Catherine Mayo, 59, of Braintree, Vt., has been in federal custody since Aug. 17, when United Flight 923 was diverted to Boston after Mayo urinated on the floor of the cabin and made statements that the pilot and crew believed were references to al-Qaida and the Sept. 11 attacks.

At a hearing Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Timothy Hillman agreed with a defense request that Mayo be taken to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., and be put in the official custody of her 31-year-old son.

Mayo waived her right to a probable cause hearing on a charge of interfering with a flight crew. Her attorney, public defender Page Kelley, has said Mayo has a long history of mental illness.

Mayo said little during the hearing and did not audibly answer when the judge asked "Ms. Mayo, how are you today?"

During a break, as her lawyer was explaining the conditions of her detention, Mayo repeatedly interrupted her and said: "I did not commit any criminal act. I am not responsible for the federal government arresting me."

Mayo was to be held at the facility until her doctors determine it is safe for her to leave. At that time, her travel would be restricted to New Hampshire, her home state of Vermont and Massachusetts, if she has meetings with her lawyer. She would be subject to arrest if she leaves the center before treatment is finished.

The scare on the flight from Heathrow to Washington's Dulles airport came just a week after London authorities said they foiled a terror plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights. Federal officials have said they have no indications that Mayo had any links to terrorism.

Joshua Mayo has described his mother as a peace activist and said she had been returning from several months in Pakistan when she was arrested. He said she has traveled there often since making a pen pal before Sept. 11, 2001.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

News stories provided by third parties are not edited by "Site Publication" staff. For suggestions and comments, please click the Contact link at the bottom of this page.

We Recommend

  • News

    Vermont Woman To Be Charged After London Flight

    Mayo was to appear in federal court later Thursday on a charge of interfering with a flight crew after disrupting United 923 as it flew from London to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

  • News

    Algerian Pilot Loses Legal Bid in London

    Two judges ruled that the government was entitled to exclude Lotfi Raissi from its compensation policy for victims of miscarriages of justice because he had been held on a U.S. extradition warrant.

  • News

    Scares Delay, Divert Six US-Linked Flights

    Six flights were searched, evacuated, or diverted yesterday in security-related scares during a chaotic day in the skies.

  • Press Release

    4 Charged in Plot to Blow Up NYC Airport

    One of the suspects, Russell Defreitas, a U.S. citizen native to Guyana and former JFK air cargo employee, said the airport named for the slain president was targeted because it is a symbol that would...