Essex

Ryanair racism: Essex Police pass details to Spain authorities

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Media captionThe incident was captured by passenger David Lawrence, who spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live about what happened

A man who was filmed racially abusing a woman on a Ryanair flight has been identified, police said.

Essex Police said it had identified both parties involved in the incident and passed the details to the Spanish authorities who were leading the investigation.

Airline Ryanair has been criticised for failing to remove the abusive passenger and instead making the woman move.

The budget carrier said it had spoken to Delsie Gayle's family.

The incident took place on a flight from Barcelona to Stansted on Friday and was recorded by fellow passenger David Lawrence who shared it on social media.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: "We have worked to identify both parties involved in this incident and passed this information to the Spanish authorities, who are leading on this investigation.

"Our officers will continue to provide assistance where necessary throughout the course of this case."

'Frightened'

In the recording of the incident the man can be heard threatening to push Mrs Gayle, 77, to another seat as well as racially abusing her.

Speaking on ITV's This Morning, her daughter, Carol, said she had been told she can expect to give a police statement by Thursday.

Mrs Gayle said: "I travel a lot, and I have never had this kind of reaction.

"I go to Canada, I go to Jamaica and never."

She said the man threatened to continue verbally abusing her, telling staff: "I do what I want to do. If you don't move her, I'll carry on."

"I was so frightened," Mrs Gayle said.

Her daughter said she had arranged the trip in an attempt to cheer her mother up a year after she was widowed.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ryanair said it "would be taking the matter further"

A Ryanair spokeswoman said its customer care team had contacted the woman's family, but would not comment further due to the incident being a police matter.

Barcelona deputy mayor Jaume Asens tweeted that Ryanair's handling of the man's behaviour had been "unacceptable" and called for witnesses to make contact.

Mr Lawrence said that in the age of social media "visual is important" and "now the world knows" what happened.

He told BBC Breakfast: "I had to make a difficult decision at that time because if I had stepped in I don't think you would have seen the footage that I captured."

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