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'I feel very low': Victim of racist abuse on Ryanair flight say she's struggling after verbal attack

Ryanair is facing extensive criticism for its handling of the incident.

Image: David Lawrence

A DISABLED WOMAN who was the victim of racist tirade on a Ryanair flight has said that the attack has left her feeling depressed and unable to eat. 

Delsie Gayle was called an “ugly black bastard” by a fellow passenger on a flight from Barcelona to London Stansted on Friday.

Video footage of the incident shows a man shouting at Gayle to demand that she move seats while her daughter tells him that she is disabled.

“I don’t care whether she’s fucking disabled or not – if I tell her to get out, she gets out,” the man roars.

When Gayle responds to the abuse the man shouts: “Don’t talk to me in a foreign language, you stupid ugly cow.”
https://www.facebook.com/david.lawrencehughes/videos/1878880998891355/

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The incident, which occurred before the flight took off, ended when Gayle moved from her seat. The man was allowed to remain in his seat and was not removed from the flight.

Speaking to ITV News Gayle said the encounter has left her unable to sleep. “I feel very low. He paid a fare to go on holiday, I’ve paid mine, so why does he abuse me for that due to the colour of my skin? He do it with me and he gets away, he’ll do it to somebody else,” she said.

I feel really depressed about it. I go to my bed and say, ‘what have I done?’ I haven’t done anything for you to attack me. Because of the colour of my skin I was abused like that?

The trip to Spain had been organised by Gayle’s daughter to help her mother cope with the anniversary of her husband’s death. The retired care assistant was married for more than 50 years.

“I’m depressed and I lost my husband, I’m so depressed I lost him,” she said. “I’m just sitting in the house, crying and I don’t go out. And she gave me three days holidays and so I said ‘ok I’ll come along.’”

Ryanair has faced extensive criticism for not intervening to stop the abuse yet, despite this, Gayle said she has not been contacted by the airline.

It tweeted on Sunday that it had reported the matter to Essex police. “As this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further.”

Gayle’s eldest daughter said Ryanair staff acted as if the man was the victim. ”On the plane it was unprofessional, and after it was unprofessional. It’s all wrong, I just believe they need more training,” she said.

The incident was filmed by David Lawrence who told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that it was a difficult decision for him to film the incident instead of intervening. 

“For many years a lot of the West Indian community have gone through these types of incidents in Britain, but have never been able to share it with the public or with the world. So I decided that I had the opportunity to film this, as difficult as it was,” he said. 

Lawrence added that he was not impressed by Ryanair’s handling of the attack and he had previously seen people escorted off planes for less.

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Ceimin Burke

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