Plane passenger David Mesher has apologised to a black woman he verbally abused on a Ryanair plane, insisting that he is not racist.
Mr Mesher spoke to Good Morning Britain a day after being spoken to by police who are investigating the incident.
He called Delsie Gayle and ‘ugly black bastard’ and told her not to speak to him in a foreign language while on a Ryanair plane in Spain.
‘I’m not a racist’ says man who racially abused woman on flight
Mr Mesher said: ‘I’m not a racist person by any means and it’s just a fit of temper at the time, I think.’
Speaking directly to Delsie, he said: ‘I apologise for all the distress you’ve had there and since.’
Explaining the context he said: ‘I said I’ve got to get to the window seat and there didn’t seem to be any response.
‘And then I asked her again, I said I have to get to the window seat and she didn’t seem to want to get up..or she didn’t seem to …then I probably lost my temper a bit and I ordered her to get up.’
In response to Mr Mesher’s apology, Carol Gyale, Delsie’s daughter, 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 has put my mum through.’
Delsie added: ‘You must forget and forgive but it is going to take a long time, for me to get over what he has done to me.’
Officers from West Midlands Police said they were assisting Essex Police, who are leading the investigation, when they attended the sheltered accommodation where Mr Mesher lives earlier this week.
The incident is believed to have taken place on Ryanair flight FR015 at Barcelona Airport on October 19, before it left for London Stansted.
Essex Police said on Wednesday: ‘Essex Police was contacted on Sunday, October 21, about a racially-aggravated incident happening on a Ryanair plane while on the tarmac at Barcelona Airport.
‘This incident took place on Friday, October 19. A video of which has been widely circulated on social media and covered by media both here and abroad.
‘Since the report was made to us, our officers have identified both parties involved and are progressing a number of inquiries.’
They added: ‘There are agreed national protocols to follow when incidents are reported to have happened in another country. As such, we will be conducting an investigation to submit to the Spanish authorities in due course.’
Mr Mesher, who lives in a sheltered retirement housing block in Yardley Wood, Birmingham, declined to comment to reporters outside his home.
A spokeswoman for Optivo, which runs the sheltered accommodation, said: ‘We do not condone abusive behaviour in any form.
‘As this matter is now being handled by the police we are unable to make any further comment at this stage.’
Two officers from the West Midlands force spent just under an hour at the housing block before leaving without Mr Mesher.
When asked why officers had attended the premises, a spokeswoman for the West Midlands force said: ‘West Midlands Police officers are assisting Essex Police who have the primary investigation.’
Ms Gayle, who was subject to the abuse said she felt ‘very low’ about the incident and it had discouraged her from flying with the low-cost airline in future.
She told ITV News: ‘I feel really depressed about it. I go to bed and say: ‘what have I done?’
‘I haven’t done anything to attack him, it’s because of the colour of my skin I was abused like that.’