A drunk wine importer groped an off-duty British Airways hostess during an overnight flight to Cape Town as he boasted ‘I get paid to drink’, a court heard.
Daniel Grigg, 37, consumed beer, wine and a Bloody Mary cocktail during a business trip to South Africa, the jury at Isleworth Crown Court was told.
Speaking from behind a screen, the 35 year-old complainant said: ‘I was trying to get some rest and turned my back and I felt a hand tickling me on my leg and thigh.
‘It was the top of my thigh area and then the hand went under my blanket. I did not think it was happening at first.
‘He was tickling and rubbing my leg and then it was like a groping. He knew where his hand wanted to go.’
Daniel Grigg, 37, (left) arriving at Isleworth Crown Court to answer a charge of sexual assault
Grigg is accused of groping an off-duty British Airways hostess during an overnight flight to Cape Town
Grigg, of Salisbury, Wiltshire, has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault on January 15 last year.
He is the boss of Museum Wines in Tarrant Hinton, Dorset.
The shop is a three-time winner of the Decanter Awards Best Specialist Retailer South Africa and the International Wine Challenge South African Specialist of the Year.
Grigg was seated next to the woman for the twelve-hour flight.
The multiple texts she sent her husband during the flight were shown to the jury.
They read: ‘The bloke next to me is pissed. He is doing my head in. This bloke next to me is virtually lying on me.’
She told the trial: ‘He made an odd comment that he was glad that I did not stink and that he was not sitting next to someone smelly and that he was glad he was sitting in that seat, having booked last minute.’
Grigg, of Salisbury, Wiltshire, has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault on January 15 last year
Grigg watched as she Facetimed her 18 month-old daughter. He also talked about his five month-old twin boys.
‘He was very friendly and chatty and told me he was in the wine industry and that he got paid to drink,’ the woman said.
‘He smelled, he smelled of alcohol. He had been drinking a lot of alcohol and his behaviour changed and he was making odd comments.’
Grigg says he had no more than four alcoholic drinks during the flight and his chatting was merely ‘light-hearted and jovial’.
But the woman added: ‘He was shouting and the passengers were telling him to be quiet. The lights were off and the meal service was over.
‘His demeanour really changed from the person who got on the flight. I told him to be quiet because people were sleeping and he said he did not care.
‘When I came back from the toilet he said: ”Where have you been?” as if I belonged to him and asked what was the craziest thing I had ever done.
‘The cabin crew told me to put my earphones in and ignore him and I turned my back on him to discourage him.
‘I have a blanket with a picture of my daughter on it that I carry everywhere and he said: ”Isn’t an economy blanket good enough for you?”
The wine specialist is the boss of Museum Wines in Tarrant Hinton, Dorset
‘His hand went around me and I just shot up and woke the lady next to me and went to the back cabin.
‘It made me want to get off the plane, but I was stuck on the aircraft.’
She told the jury that the touching was over her clothing, with Grigg’s hand moving below her stomach after tickling her thigh and leg.
‘I went to the galley and I burst into tears,’ she said.
‘He then came to the galley for more alcohol and was told because of the incident he would not be served any more.’
The woman was moved to another seat at the rear of the plane.
‘I put the blanket over my head so he wouldn’t see me,’ she said.
A BA colleague advised her it would not be worth reporting Grigg to the local South African police.
She immediately filed an Air Incident Report and told her union what happened.
The BA employee denied a defence suggestion she was ‘disenchanted’ with her role, due to the time spent away from her daughter, telling the court: ‘I love my job’.
Grigg says he had no more than four alcoholic drinks during the flight and his chatting was merely ‘light-hearted and jovial’
Grigg’s lawyer, Hannah Beer, also suggested she was unhappy about being seated in economy.
But the woman said: ‘Everyone would prefer Business Class, but we have to take what we are given.’
She denied recommending Grigg try a Bloody Mary, but did agree she did not eat her airline meal and texted her husband to say the food was ‘disgusting’.
Grigg’s lawyer also asked if she was angry about fellow-cabin crew not bringing her food from Business Class.
She replied: ‘No, I would get into trouble if I ordered a meal from Business Class.’
The defence say the woman gave different accounts of the incident to different people.
The trial continues.