London Stansted Airport
A woman took off her skirt in frustration at the security delays at London Stansted AirportStephen Hird/Reuters

A woman, who took off her skirt in frustration at the security delays at London Stansted Airport, has been fined £150. Eimear Ni Ghiallgairrh, 29, a former school teacher, suffered a broken thumb when police officers arrested her on 21 January. Police detained her for 15 hours before she was released.

According to the Daily Mail, Ghiallgairrh, who is also a trained architect, had reached the airport 90 minutes before her scheduled fight to Barcelona, where she was going to attend an interview for an architecture job. However, with a long queue at the security check, she explained her situation to the security staff, who allowed her to enter the 'fast lane' and skip the queue altogether. But, while she was waiting to be searched, she was apparently told that she was a threat and could be hiding something illegal on her person.

"I was standing and waiting to be searched by staff before being told that I was considered dangerous and may be concealing something about my person," Ghiallgairrh, who appeared before Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on 18 February, said.

"She refused to be searched, became heated, got agitated and removed her skirt, standing in her tights," prosecutor Karen Phillips told the court. "Members of the public around were distressed as she was undressing. She also banged on the desk angrily," Phillips said.

"I was becoming increasingly frustrated by the airport staff who were converging to tell this to me and as I was wearing leggings, lowered my skirt to show this was not the case and asked to be searched," Ghiallgairrh said. "He said 'you're on drugs'. I said 'I'm not on drugs'. He said I shouldn't talk to him like that because he had a machine gun. He said that if I didn't shut up he was going to arrest me," she said.

"I feel victimised, demonised, absolutely depressed," Ghiallgairrh said after the verdict. "I don't have any way out. I can't play my bills. I'm not on benefits I can't work. This is police brutality. I feel completely abused by the police," she said.

Ghiallgairrh was fined a total of £150 ($215) after she pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour and criminal damage. The court was also told that Ghiallgairrh, who had been in the UK for the past 18 months, was planning to return to Ireland.

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