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Lawyer Convicted After Racial Rant on Flight Is Dead

Simone Burns' 'world fell apart' after
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2019 2:50 PM CDT
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The body of Simone Burns was found at the foot of the cliffs in Beachy Head, England.   (Getty/Khrizmo)

(Newser) – A human rights lawyer who launched a racial rant on an Air India flight and spat at a crew member has been found dead, days after her release from an English jail. The body of Simone Burns, 50, was discovered June 1 at Beachy Head, in East Sussex, the Guardian reports. Police said the death is not being treated as suspicious. Burns shouted racial slurs at the crew on a flight from Mumbai to London last year when she was refused more wine. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced in April to six months for being drunk on an aircraft and two months for common assault, to be served concurrently, per the Metro. Thirteen days after her release, her body was found dead at the foot of cliffs in Beachy Head, the Telegraph reports.

A friend said Burns' "world fell apart" after her conviction. Burns, who was Irish but lived in England, told the court that she was targeted by internet trolls, and her lawyer said she received death threats after the video went viral. She had no recollection of the clash on the plane, lawyers said. As a human rights lawyer, Burns worked with refugees around the world. In 2000, she was diagnosed with facial skin cancer. When she was sentenced, she was waiting to receive a prosthetic nose. (Read more airline passengers stories.)

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