A pensioner who was racially abused on a Ryanair flight has rejected an apology from the passenger who mistreated her.
David Mesher – who was caught on camera calling Delsie Gayle an “ugly black bastard” – said he “probably lost his temper a bit”.
He said he was sorry for the distress he caused, but he was not “in any way” a racist.
The 77-year-old widow and her daughter refused to accept his apology because of its wording.
Mr Mesher told ITV’s Good Morning Britain 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 went on.
“I apologise for all the distress you’ve had there and since.”
When played the pre-recorded interview with Mr Mesher on 26 October, Delsie Gayle was asked if she accepted the apology.
“I don’t think so,” she replied. “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 Carol Gayle said: “He says he wasn’t racist – he wouldn’t be saying words like that if he wasn’t racist.”
The pair renewed their criticism of Ryanair, claiming they had not received an apology from the budget airline.
Incident now a police investigation
Ryanair later issued a statement rebutting the claims, saying its customer services department sent an email and a letter to the female passenger at 11am on 21 October, after the 19 October flight.
The message apologised for what happened on board the aircraft and told Ms Gayle the matter had been reported to the Essex Police.
Officers from West Midlands Police assisted Essex Police, who are leading the investigation, have spoken to Mr Mesher.
But since the incident took place while the plane was still at Barcelona Airport, UK police have said officers will pass the investigation to Spanish authorities.
Essex Police said: “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.”
Ms Gayle has spoken about how “depressed” she felt about the tirade, saying: “I haven’t done anything to attack him, it’s because of the colour of my skin I was abused like that.”