Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It Was Just a Fit of Temper: Ryanair 'Racist' Apologises to Widow He Abused

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It Was Just a Fit of Temper: Ryanair 'Racist' Apologises to Widow He Abused

Article excerpt

Byline: Benedict Moore-Bridger

THE RYANAIR passenger filmed abusing an elderly widow on a flight has apologised today for his vile rant and insisted he is not racist.

David Mesher, 70, admitted he "lost his temper" when he launched a tirade of abuse at 77-year-old Delsie Gayle on the flight from Barcelona to Stansted last Friday.

The former railway worker was labelled a "bully" by neighbours after he was filmed calling Mrs Gayle an "ugly black b******". The Barcelona mayor also pledged to bring the "shameless rude racist" to justice for the "unbearable" comments.

But, during an appearance today on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Mr Mesher apologised directly to Mrs Gayle. Speaking publicly for the first time about the incident, he said: "I probably lost my temper a bit and ordered her to get up. I'm not a racist person by any means and it's just a fit of temper at the time, I think."

When asked what he would say to Mrs Gayle, he added: "I apologise for all the distress you have had there and since." He added that he "absolutely" regrets his behaviour.

After listening to the interview, Ms Gayle rejected the apology.

Breaking down in tears, she said: "I have never been through anything like this ever in my life, anyone who abused me like that. You must forgive and forget but it is going to take a long time for me to get over what he has done to me."

Her daughter Carol said: "He said he wasn't racist he wouldn't be saying words like that if he wasn't racist. I don't think he knows what he's put my mum through." She added: "He should have been taken off the plane, moved. Something should have been done. We are taking legal action, we are taking this further."

The pair also renewed their criticism of Ryanair, saying they are still waiting to hear from the budget airline, a claim the company denies. …

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