The Ryanair passenger who racially abused a black woman has denied being a racist this morning.
David Mesher, 70, shocked the nation when he was filmed calling 77-year-old Delsie Gayle an ‘ugly black b******’ aboard a plane in Barcelona.
The Birmingham man has today denied being prejudiced after footage of his vile rant went viral and apologised for the outburst on the Stansted-bound flight.
David Mesher, 70, shocked the nation when he was filmed calling 77-year-old Delsie Gayle an ‘ugly black b******’
Delsie Gayle, 77, Mesher’s victim, spoke on This Morning (left) with her daughter where they said their family deserves a public apology
He told Good Morning Britain: ‘I’m not a racist person by any means and it was just a fit of bad temper at the time.’
Addressing Mrs Gayle, he said: ‘I apologise for all the distress you’ve had there and since.’
He said he lost his temper as a result of Mrs Gayle not seeming to want to get up when he needed to reach the window seat.
Mesher (pictured) has denied being a racist and apologised
Windrush immigrant Mrs Gayle appeared on the show with daughter Carol and when asked if she accepted the apology, she responded ‘I don’t think so’.
‘You must forget and forgive but it’s going to take a long time,’ she said. ‘I was so depressed all I’ve been doing just crying i cant sleep.’
Carol added: ‘He wouldnt say words like that if he wasn’t racist.’
It comes two day after police questioned Mesher at his home after the incident aboard a plane but have not yet arrested him.
Two uniformed officers turned up at his sheltered accommodation flat in the West Midlands after he was unmasked by MailOnline.
A spokesperson for the force said: ‘We are assisting Essex Police over an alleged incident on a Ryanair flight but they are the primary investigators.’
The spokesperson declined to say if the man would be arrested for formal questioning, saying: ‘We cannot comment on that but our inquiries are ongoing.’
An Essex Police spokesperson added: ‘We have asked the local force in the west Midlands to assist us directly on this matter.’
Former railway worker Mesher stayed behind closed doors at his first flat in Yardley Wood, declining to talk to the large media pack gathered outside.
Mesher was identified by his neighbours and a former work colleague as the man at the centre of the shocking video.
Mesher unleashed a torrent of abuse at grandma Mrs Gayle, 77, calling her an ‘ugly black b*****d’ after they boarded a flight in Barcelona on Friday
Police today questioned Ryanair passenger David Mesher at his home after an alleged racial abuse incident aboard a plane but have not yet arrested him
Two uniformed officers turned up at the 70-year-old pensioner Mesher’s sheltered accommodation flat in Birmingham after he was unmasked by MailOnline
He also filmed shouting ‘don’t speak to me in a f****** foreign language’ while on board the London bound jet last Friday.
Ryanair has been criticised for its handling of the incident as Mesher was not kicked off the flight nor were the authorities in Spain informed about it. Instead, Mrs Gayle was moved to another aisle while Mesher continued to sit in his own seat.
When confronted by MailOnline on Tuesday he refused to apologise for his reported vile rant towards the stunned woman, insisting: ‘Go away, there’s nothing I want to say.’
Mesher was identified by his neighbours and a former work colleague as the man at the centre of the shocking video
Neighbours at the block of flats described him as a ‘weirdo’ and a ‘bully’. Until his retirement Mr Mesher worked as a train announcer for London Midland Railways.
He had previously worked at London Waterloo train station in the main ticket office as an employee of British Rail.
A former colleague told MailOnline he was stunned to recognise 70-year-old Mesher on the video that has been seen worldwide and condemned by MPs and Downing Street.
The colleague said: ‘It is 30 years since I last worked with David and he was not like the person you see on the video.
‘He was in the ticket office at Waterloo station and was always so polite. He would not be rude to anyone, otherwise he would not have been dealing with the public.
‘It was a real shock to see him and the vile language that the used. He should be condemned for that. It was awful. That isn’t the David Mesher I remember when we worked together.’
Mr Mesher also worked in Essex and lived with his elderly mother until her death. He has never married.
The former colleague said Mesher would often attend musical concerts in London and was an avid collector of classical music.
He said they lost contact when Mr Mesher moved to Birmingham from Barking in East London where he lived with his mother.
Neighbours at his sheltered accommodation told MailOnline they were appalled by his abuse towards another passenger.
One man said: ‘He is a racist pig and bully and everyone here recognises his face from the TV news and papers.
‘What he did was totally out order and he should be punished. I can’t imagine he would have behaved that way to that lady if a man had been present with her.
‘But he won’t get arrested because it happened on Spanish soil.’
His next door neighbour told how Mr Mesher, who lives alone in the self-contained flat, was ‘a weirdo and a real nuisance’.
‘No one really likes him. He keeps himself to himself and we don’t know much about him but we all knew he was going off to Spain on holiday.’
The resident revealed that Mr Mesher often showed ‘no respect for other people.’
He told how a few months ago how his neigbour was ‘driving me mad by playing music loudly and continuously on a loop.’
He explained: ‘I banged on his door to ask him to turn it down and he wasn’t even in. How inconsiderate is that?
‘It was no annoying hearing the same old tune over and again that I pulled the emergency cord to alert staff to his flat and they managed to go in and sort it out in his absence.’
Barcelona City Hall has joined the fight to make sure Mr Mesher is brought to justice.
Officials vowed to report the sickening incident – which took place on a Ryanair plane leaving the Catalan capital for London Stansted – to Spanish prosecutors.
The pledge came as Barcelona mayoress Ada Colau attacked Ryanair over their response to the racist attack and branded Mr Mesher as a ‘swine’.
The city’s deputy mayor also appealed on Twitter for witnesses to come forward.
Ada Colau wrote: ‘Thank you, by the way, to the person who made the video, because it brought to public attention an event that can’t go unpunished.
‘As the mayor of a feminist city that fights against all forms of discrimination, the images in the video are unbearable to me.
‘So I can’t even imagine how the victim of this aggression felt. The flight was leaving Barcelona, and Barcelona isn’t going to take something like this lying down.’
Ryanair victim: If I’d abused a white man, I would have been arrested
The grandmother who was subjected to a torrent of racist abuse on a Ryanair flight yesterday revealed that the ordeal has left her feeling depressed.
Delsie Gayle, 77, heaped criticism on the budget airline by questioning why they failed to remove the offending passenger despite watching him repeatedly abusing her.
Mrs Gayle and her family were in a state of ‘utter shock’ last night as the Irish airline had still not contacted them, despite a public outcry over its handling of the incident.
Delsie Gayle, 77, revealed that the ordeal on the plane has left her feeling depressed
Speaking publicly for the first time, the pensioner – part of the Windrush generation of immigrants – accused Ryanair of being inadvertently racist, claiming they would have reacted differently if a white passenger had been abused.
‘I feel really depressed about it,’ she said. ‘I go to bed and say what have I done? I haven’t done anything to attack him. Because of the colour of my skin. I was abused like that.
‘I feel very low. He pays his fare, I pay mine. So why did he abuse me for that? Because of the colour of my skin.
‘Why [is] he treating me because the colour of my skin, that’s how I look isn’t it? Because if I had done that to him I’m sure they would have called the police.’
Mrs Gayle, who came to Britain from the Caribbean in the 1960s, had been taken on holiday by her family to lift her morale ahead of the first anniversary of her husband Austin’s death.
As they prepared to fly back to London from Barcelona-El Prat Airport on Friday, they encountered a tirade of abuse from a white male passenger.
The man, who has yet to be identified, became agitated at how long Mrs Gayle, who suffers from arthritis, took to move from her aisle seat as he tried to get to his window seat.
Mrs Gayle said: ‘He said to me, ‘Can you get up and let me come in?’, so I said: ‘In a minute.’ He said: ‘When I say get up, I mean you ought to get up’.
‘So I said to him, ‘Don’t point your hand in my face’ and he said ‘I do what I want to do’.’
Airline staff then watched on without intervening as the abuser called Mrs Gayle a ‘black b******’ and threatened to push her off the row of seats they shared.
Mrs Gayle accused Ryanair of being inadvertently racist, claiming they would have reacted differently if a white passenger had been abused
During an emotional interview at her home in Leyton, East London, Mrs Gayle said: ‘I know if I do it to him I know everyone on the plane would try to attack me.
‘And because I’m black, I’m sad to say that, they didn’t want to get involved with me.’
Following the abuse, she was eventually moved to another seat while the man remained in his seat, refusing to apologise.
‘I didn’t want to sit there and for him to abuse me any more,’ said Mrs Gayle, who had been seated apart from her family. ‘It made me feel really angry.’
Describing her frustration with Ryanair, she said: ‘I decided I would not fly with that airline, because they don’t treat you with respect.’ Her daughter Carol, 53, who was also on the flight to Stansted, said: ‘He should be moved or taken off the plane and nothing was done.
‘I know if that was a black person racially abusing an elderly woman, the police would have been involved. It would have been a different matter. When I saw the video I felt like he [the abuser] was the victim, the way that Ryanair were treating it.
‘Nobody has apologised. We’ve not had nothing. We just want an open apology from Ryanair. I can’t even watch the video any more. It’s just so upsetting.’
She said Ryanair staff refused to do anything, despite the family complaining that the abuser had used racist language, and said they were in a rush to board the next plane.
‘I called the attendant and said, ‘Look I told you to take him off, he’s been shouting racial abuse’,’ she said. ‘The flight attendant said he didn’t hear any of that.
‘He didn’t hear any racial abuse. That’s what he said. The captain or pilot came on and said there’s nothing we can do now. We have got so many people that need to get on this plane.’
Both Mrs Gayle and her husband Austin were originally from Jamaica. After moving to the UK in 1965, Mrs Gayle spent more than two decades working as a care assistant.
The Ryanair incident happened at the end of a three-day trip to the Costa Brava planned by Carol, one of her three daughters, to help her over the grief of losing her husband a year ago.