'I made a terrible mistake': Aussie model cries in court over drunken assault of flight attendant

Australian model Adau Mornyang has wept in a US court as she avoided a prison sentence despite assaulting a flight attendant on a drunken, raucous Melbourne to Los Angeles flight.

Mornyang, 24, was facing up to 21 years behind bars for assaulting a United Airlines flight attendant, but US District Court Judge Cormac Carney in Los Angeles sentenced her to 100 hours of community service and three years of probation.

Australian-South Sudanese model Adau Mornyang checks in through security for her court case at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Source: AP via AAP
The model and former Miss World Australia finalist Mornyang cried in court prior to her sentencing. Source: AP via AAP

"I am a human being who made a terrible mistake," Mornyang told the judge on Monday.

The judge cited what he described as her "tragic history" of sexual and physical abuse and alcoholism.

"It's quite sad and tragic," Judge Carney said.

An LA jury in March found Mornyang guilty of a felony charge of interference with a flight crew member and a misdemeanour count of assault.

Adau Mornyang is a previous Miss World Australia finalist. Source: AAP

The court heard the former Miss World Australia finalist ordered "several glasses of wine" on the January 21 flight.

When the Australian-South Sudanese model was cut off from drinking more, she yelled obscenities and racial slurs, and struck a flight attendant.

She was then handcuffed by an air marshal, refused to leave a toilet, and had to be held at the rear of the plane.

Prosecutors recommended she serve a month behind bars.

Probation officers recommended three years of probation and a $US2000 ($A2843) fine.

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