Man faces prison for attacking a flight attendant


The plane passenger grabbed the steward’s genitals and asked whether he was gay. Previously the defendant claimed it to happen accidentally, but now he admits the guilt of sexual assault and it means that he will face up to 10 years of imprisonment. Prosecutor Nicole Durham said that the passenger Thomas Sleigh had been coming back to Manchester with his family. Sleigh had drunk three cans of beer before the flight, and that his daughter had been drinking alcohol not purchased on the plane. When the victim approached the group asking to collect a can, Sleigh then “grabbed” and “flicked” his genitals, said prosecutors. He was heard asking the victim “are you gay”, and then seen sticking his middle finger up at the attendant. The steward did not reply asking only not to touch him. The passenger’s daughter insisted it to be a joke, the victim replied that there was nothing funny and the man was arrested as the plane arrived. Sleigh had later claimed it was an accident that he touched the groin of the victim, and Shane O’Neill defending, said he had been resting his head in his hand which caused him to accidentally touch the victim. In his defence, Sleigh said he had no problem with gay people because his son is gay. Chair of the bench, Lorraine Lighton said she did not believe that Sleigh touched the victim by accident.


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