An easyJet passenger has been given a six month prison sentence for squeezing a flight attendant’s bottom and calling him a ‘gay boy’.
Gavin Capps had previously pleaded guilty to sexual assault and using threatening words or behaviour on the flight to Iceland.
Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court heard how Capps, who was travelling from Manchester to Iceland to work on a fishing trawler, had drunk three cans of Heineken beer during the flight in January 2019.
Capps, aged 51 and from Grimsby, went to the front of the aircraft to get more alcohol, but was told to sit down and wait for the trolley service. When duty-free service came round he grabbed 400 cigarettes from the trolley and hid them under his seat.
The defendant was warned that the police would be called if he continued to cause trouble, but as the flight attendant was serving another passenger he felt the defendant ‘take hold of his left buttock and squeeze with a lot of force. He could feel his fingers between buttocks’, David Calder, prosecuting, told the court on Monday, according to the Manchester Evening News.
“He started shouting saying ‘you are gay saying that I touched your bum’,” Calder told the court. He then said: “You are not British if you think that is sexual assault.”
The victim alerted the captain who contacted police.
Capps went to the front of the aircraft and started taking pictures of the cabin crew on his mobile phone. He then said: “The gay boy is getting me arrested for sexual harassment.”
The defendant was arrested on his return to Manchester Airport in March last year.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, the air steward said he felt ‘humiliated and embarrassed’ by Capps’ actions.
Capps has 30 previous convictions for 105 offences. The most recent offence was for battery. He has no previous sexual offences on his record.
Rachel White, defending, said Capps, who suffers from OCD and depression and looks after his 25-year-old son who also has depression, was embarrassed and ashamed about the incident. “As a consequence he will have to sign the sexual offences register. As a consequence he has lost his job on a trawler and his accommodation in this country,” she said.
Judge Bernadette Baxter said: “You drank too much and behaved appallingly. you have done exactly the same many times before. This time you were on an aircraft. In this circumstance the situation becomes a lot more serious.”