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Blue singer Lee Ryan avoids jail for racially abusing BA cabin crew while drunk on flight
28 September 2023, 10:34 | Updated: 28 September 2023, 10:44
Blue star Lee Ryan has been handed a 12-month suspended prison sentence for racially aggravated common assault by beating and behaving in an abusive way towards a cabin crew member.
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The singer, 40, was "slurring his words and staggering around" after drinking a whole bottle of port before a British Airways flight from Glasgow to London City Airport on July 31 last year.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft, for which he was handed a four-month jail term to run concurrently.
As he sentenced him at Isleworth Crown Court, Judge Nicholas Wood said while the incident only lasted 10 or 15 minutes: "It seemed like a lifetime for everybody on that plane."
The singer was "slurring his words and staggering around" after drinking a whole bottle of port before a British Airways flight from Glasgow to London City Airport on July 31 last year.
After being refused more alcohol on the plane and told to return to his seat, Ryan made comments about a flight attendant's looks, calling her a "chocolate cookie" before grabbing her wrists.
The flight attendant told Ealing Magistrates' Court in January that Ryan initially called her "beautiful" and put his sunglasses on her face.
She said: "He was making comments about my complexion, you're my chocolate darling, my chocolate cookie, and I'm going to have your chocolate children."
She went on: "It felt like he was saying I was beautiful for a black person because of the way he was describing my colour."
She added: "I was intimidated, I felt a bit embarrassed like I wasn't doing my duty properly.
"To get comments about my colour whether intentional or not, it was just unacceptable and so derogatory.
"I just felt like it wasn't fair and I shouldn't have to put up with it. I don't go to work to be assaulted or harassed."
The flight attendant said Ryan later approached her from behind, saying: "Before I get off this plane I need a kiss from you."