A Jet2 plane was forced to re-route after a drunken British passenger sexually assaulted an air hostess, a court has heard.
Nantes Criminal Court heard that Jet2 passenger Paul J, 66, shoved his hand up the skirt of a flight attendant during a flight from Leeds to Spain in November 2022.
The staff member was serving snacks in the aisle when he “touched her sexually”, according to local reports.
The woman later informed her manager, leading pilots to divert the flight to France, where the passenger was arrested.
A subsequent trial found the drunken passenger guilty of sexual assault, with a court hearing the woman had suffered “major psychological trauma” as a result of the ordeal.
Nantes Criminal Court heard that when the plane touched down in the city on November 12, the passenger disembarked and was taken into custody, with the victim taken to a forensic medical unit.
The passenger was found with a blood-alcohol level of .22 grams per litre and referred to treatment.
Examiners confirmed his victim had “suffered a recent trauma”, and she didn’t fly again in the three months following while experiencing eating difficulties and sleep problems.
While appearing in court, her lawyer said she was receiving therapy as she had suffered a “major psychological trauma”, adding: “The effects of which continue to this day”.
The retired factory worker claimed he didn’t remember the incident and offered multiple explanations for his actions.
In one instance, he suggested he may have raised his hand “in my sleep”, while in another, he claimed to have “problems with trembling” that “led me to raise my hand”.
When accused of sexually assaulting the victim, he said: “If that’s really what I did, I’ll never be able to apologise enough”.
The trial concluded on October 9, with the retiree found guilty of sexual assault and handed a 10-month suspended prison sentence.
The Nantes court has also banned him from visiting Leeds Airport or contacting his victim.
In the years following the incident, the court heard he has attended Alcoholics Anonymous three times a week while taking a course on alcohol addiction.
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