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  1. ITV Report

Elderly victim of racist abuse on Ryanair flight in 'shock' and left facing 'sleepless nights'

A disabled widow in her 70s who was the victim of a racist tirade on a Ryanair flight has told ITV News how the incident has left her in shock and unable to eat and sleep.

Delsie Gayle, who was called an ugly black b******" by a fellow passenger after she boarded a Ryanair flight, said: "I was shocked, nobody ever said those words to me.

"I travel a lot, I go to Canada...and no-one has every said those words to me".

Describing how the abuse made her feel she told ITV News: "I feel very low. He paid a fare a 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 added.

Ms Gayle was about to fly home from a trip to Barcelona on Friday when a man on her row starting ranting at her, and insisting she move seats. His racist outburst was filmed and soon went viral and has prompted some to call for a boycott of the budget airline.

Three days on she's had no contact with Ryanair - despite the airline facing criticism for not intervening.

In the video, the man is seen shouting at Ms Gayle to move seats while her daughter tries to stand up to him, telling him her mother is disabled.

He replies: “I don’t care whether she’s f****** disabled or not – if I tell her to get out she gets out.”

The man can also be heard calling Ms Gayle an "ugly black b******", and shouting "don't talk to me in a foreign language you stupid ugly cow".

The three-day trip to the Costa Brava had been planned by Ms Gayle's daughter to raise her mother's spirits as it is nearly one year since the death of her husband of more than 50 years.

The 77-year-old retired care assistant said: "I'm depressed and I lost my husband, I'm so depressed I lost him.

"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.'"

Delsie Gayle, 77, has spoken out after being targeted by racist abuse on Friday. Credit: ITV News

But the holiday ended in racial abuse on the flight home and has left both unwilling to ever use RyanAir again.

Ms Gayle's daughter told ITV News after a passenger began shouting at her mother she assumed cabin crew who had been called over would put a stop to the abuse and so she went to the toilet.

However, when she returned she found little had been done to help her mother and Ms Gayle was moved to another seat.

Her eldest daughter said: "Nothing was done and I know if that was a black person racially abusing an elderly woman the police would have been called. When I saw the video I felt he was the victim - that's the way RyanAir was treating it."

"It's so upsetting to believe that this is still going on," she added.

Describing Ryanair's approach, Mrs Gayle's daughter said: "On the plane it was unprofessional, and after it was unprofessional.

"It's all wrong, I just believe they need more training".

Speaking about the impact the incident has had on her, Ms Gayle added: 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?"

Ryanair tweeted on Sunday that they had reported the incident to Essex Police.

It added: "As this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further."

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A spokeswoman for Essex police said on Sunday: "Essex Police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported.

"We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation."

David Lawrence, who recorded the incident and posted it online, told ITV News on Sunday he was shocked by what he witnessed, including the reaction of Ryanair staff and other passengers.

He said: "I became very distressed because I'm filming this and I'm looking at the other passengers wondering who's going to step in and say something because you have two females being abused by this male".