British Airways steward sacked after £23k goes missing from First Class locker
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A British Airways steward was sacked when £23,000 went missing from a passenger's briefcase, despite never being charged with the theft.
The Daily Mail reports that Ian McClure, 42, is challenging his dismissal after the incident, which reportedly occurred on an overnight flight from Nigeria to Heathrow on 10 April 2011.
The First Class passenger had been carrying £65,000 in a briefcase, which was placed in his overhead locker, and complained that £23,000 had gone missing mid-flight.
Mr McClure, a flight attendant of 18 years, was arrested five days after the flight at his home in Buckinghamshire. Police found £50 and £20 notes with similar markings to those of the passenger.
But detectives could not match the notes with those in the original briefcase, so charges against McClure were dropped.
BA ignored the results of the police investigation and dismissed Mr McClure.
A tribunal heard that BA's internal staff investigation was 'biased and inadequate'.
news.com.au reports that Mr McClure's barrister Angus Gloag said: 'It's a question of who done it? That's if the money ever existed in the first place.
'Mr McClure had travelled to Nigeria a couple of weeks before this flight so he had access to money of this type with these markings.'
He said it would have been impossible for Mr McClure to remove the money from the overheard locker as the First Class cabin was nearly full with 11 out of 14 seats taken.
He added: 'Could he really have opened an overhead locker generating noise - and noise is at a premium in First Class - taken the briefcase out, taken it to the toilet, got money out, secreted it on himself or hid it somewhere and put the case back in the locker without anyone seeing anything?'
Inflight business manager for BA, Harveen Gupta, who carried out the internal inquiry defended the airline's decision and said: 'It took a long time to do this. I believe I gave a very fair hearing.'
Ms Gupta said she found it strange that Mr McClure said the money found in his home had come from a UK bank, but the notes were similar to that described by the passenger.
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