Manodh Monaragala Marks, a Sri Lankan man who threatened to set off a bomb on-board a flight bound to Kuala Lumpur from Melbourne, is facing a maximum 20 years’ jail after pleading guilty to attempting to take control of an aircraft.
The 25-year-old catering student forced Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 to turn back shortly after take-off when he tried to enter the cockpit while screaming that he had a bomb. He had been overpowered by passengers who tied him up with belts until the flight landed at Melbourne Airport in June.
Though he was initially charged with multiple offences, some of which carried a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, prosecutors dropped a number of charges, leaving Mr Marks to plead guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to a single charge of attempting to take control of an aircraft.
The court was told Mr Marks, who had been living at Dandenong in Melbourne’s south-east, has a psychiatric illness.