Man who racially abused woman on Ryanair flight apologises

‘I probably lost my temper a bit’: Victim rejects apology after man denies being racist

David Mesher apologised publicly for the first time over his treatment of 77-year-old Delsie Gayle

David Mesher apologised publicly for the first time over his treatment of 77-year-old Delsie Gayle

 

The victim of a racist tirade on a Ryanair flight has rejected an apology from the passenger who abused her, after he denied being “a racist person”.

David Mesher apologised publicly for the first time over his treatment of 77-year-old Delsie Gayle, saying he lost his temper “a bit” in an interview aired on Friday.

Footage showed him calling the widow, of east London, an “ugly black bastard” and telling her “don’t speak to me in a foreign language, you stupid ugly cow”.

The apology came as Ryanair made a lengthy defence of its conduct and claimed it “immediately” reported the video to police on Sunday — two days after cabin crew were shown footage of the abuse.

Mr Mesher, who has been spoken to by police in Birmingham, where he lives, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that the dispute began after he asked Ms Gayle to move from her seat but “she didn’t seem to want to get up”.

“I probably lost my temper a bit and ordered her to get up,” he said, adding that he “absolutely” regrets his behaviour.

“I’m not a racist person by any means and it’s just a fit of temper at the time, I think,” he continued.

“I apologise for all the distress you’ve had there and since.”

But Ms Gayle and her daughter, Carol Gayle, rejected the apology over the language used on flight FR9015 from Barcelona to London on October 19th.

Asked if she accepts the apology, Delsie Gayle said: “I don’t think so. You must forget and forgive but it’s going to take a long time for me to get over what he has done to me.”

Her daughter added: “He says he wasn’t racist — he wouldn’t be saying words like that if he wasn’t racist.”

Meanwhile, the budget airline issued a statement to dispel “false claims” it did not respond quickly and to make clear staff did not hear the racial slurs.

It said staff “immediately” reported the video on Sunday morning after becoming aware of it circulating late the night before.

But the statement added that cabin crew were shown the video after the flight landed at Stansted Airport two days earlier.

Ryanair did not respond to repeated requests to comment on why cabin crew did not report the incident to police after being shown the footage.

Its communications chief, Robin Kiely, apologised again over the “regrettable and unacceptable remarks”.

“We believe that by reporting this matter immediately to Essex Police and by apologising in writing to this customer early on Sunday morning, Ryanair treated it with the urgency and seriousness it warranted,” he added.

Officers from West Midlands Police assisted Essex Police, who are leading the investigation, by speaking to Mr Mesher in his sheltered accommodation in Yardley Wood on Thursday.

The incident took place on the tarmac of Barcelona Airport before the plane departed for Stansted, so UK police have said officers will pass the investigation to Spanish authorities.

–PA