Ryanair racist abuse: Essex Police identify man behind outburst and pass information to Spanish authorities

Investigation widens as jet was still on the tarmac in Barcelona when incident took place

Tom Batchelor
Tuesday 23 October 2018 09:56
Man racially attacks elderly black woman on Ryanair flight

British police have identified the man shown in a video racially abusing a fellow passenger on a Ryanair flight at Barcelona airport.

Spanish authorities are now leading the investigation into the racist abuse of a black woman as the UK-bound jet sat on the tarmac in the Catalan city, Essex Police said.

The victim, 77-year-old Delsie Gayle, was targeted after she was unable to move out of her aisle seat quickly enough to let the unidentified man sit down in his window seat.

Video of the incident, recorded on 19 October on flight FR015 from Barcelona to London Stansted before the plane had taken off, shows a man shouting at a woman telling her to move seats while her daughter tries to stand up to him, telling him her mother is disabled.

The man can be heard calling the elderly woman an "ugly black b******", and shouting "don't talk to me in a foreign language you stupid ugly cow".

Ryanair said on Sunday they had reported the incident to Essex Police, despite the fact the UK-bound flight was still on the tarmac in Spain.

But the force said on Tuesday it had passed information to Spanish officials.

"We have worked to identify both parties involved in this incident and passed this information to the Spanish authorities, who are leading on this investigation," Essex Police said in a statement.

"Our officers will continue to provide assistance where necessary throughout the course of this case."

Staff on the flight seemed to do little to silence the man during the footage, leaving a passenger in the row behind to try and deal with the situation.

The cabin crew can be heard to say: "Don't be so rude, you have to calm down" while other passengers call for the man to be thrown off the flight.

Elderly victim of racist abuse on Ryanair flight in 'shock' and left facing 'sleepless nights'

The victim can be heard telling the man he stinks and needs a wash, before asking to be moved so she can sit next to her daughter.

Ms Gayle said she did not know when she would recover from the incident “because every time I remember I cry”.

“I feel really depressed about it. I go to my bed and say, ‘What have I done?' I haven’t done anything (for him) to attack me because of the colour of my skin,” she told ITV News.

Her daughter said she believed if a black person had behaved in the same way they would have been thrown off the flight immediately.