A boozed-up IT consultant who racially abused a female British Airways cabin crew member, demanding that he be served by a “white girl,” has reportedly lost his job and is considering leaving the country.
Peter Nelson, 46, became irate after being woken up by employee Sima Patel-Pryke while flying business class on an 11.5-hour BA flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil last June.
The “red-faced” married dad of three from England reportedly said: “You Asians think you are better than us. I don’t want to be served by you lot. I’ve paid your wages for the last 20 years.”
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Nelson, who lives in a $1.8 million, five-bed house in Ascot, Berkshire, reduced the stewardess to tears after he “shouted very loudly” at her in the jet’s galley.
Nelson, who has been an external consultant for GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical company in the U.K. for nearly 20 years, “targeted” Patel-Pryke before he was threatened with arrest.
The pilot authorized cabin crew to get a restraining kit ready to use on him and to threaten him with arrest.
In court on Sept. 6, Nelson shook his head and sniffed in the dock as a jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict to one count of racially aggravated abuse on the June 2 flight last year.
Fining him $2,450 as well as $615 compensation to his victim and $4,300 costs to the prosecution, Judge Edward Connell said, “You plainly displayed a contemptuous attitude towards the staff from the outset, when Ms. Pryke, simply doing her job, came to wake you in order to take your food order.”
“You took immediate offence at her having the audacity in your view to wake you up,” the judge continued. “It seems that that was the beginnings of what turned out to be on your part an opportunity for you to get very upset without any justification at all.”
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“That manifested itself in the most unpleasant of ways,” Connell said. “It was thoroughly unpleasant period of conduct by you; such was your conduct that members of staff were called to deal with you and they had cause to contact the pilot.”
“It’s quite plan albeit this wasn’t the most serious case the court hears, that it had an impact on Ms. Pryke who we heard in evidence was upset and ended up in tears because of your behavior,” he went on. “It was completely unacceptable and I’m entirely satisfied that it was contributed by that you had drunk a significant amount of alcohol during the course of that flight.”
“I accept this conviction will have profound ramifications for you and your employability so I’m just persuaded that this can be deal with a financial penalty,” the judge concluded.
Lauren Sales, in mitigation, said Nelson’s wife suffered from stress due to the allegation and was treated by paramedics in an ambulance at the court after seeing national press reports of the case.
“He has lost his job. He was the breadwinner of the family. It is life changing for Mr. Nelson, the two of them have taken the decision to take their children out of their school because it’s an international school,” Sales said. “They feel they cannot go to the gates of the school and stand in the playground.”
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“The impact of the conviction has had extreme life-changing consequences. In terms of BA they haven’t even banned Mr. Nelson, they haven’t taken any action,” she went on. “He has lost his job, his children are coming out of their school, they talked earlier between the two of them of considering moving back to New Zealand because of the ramifications.”
In court on Friday, Michael Tanney, prosecuting, said: “It’s no mere mischief to say he bullied and ranted and shouted. At one point, after a sustained targeting of her, she begins to back away in fright and became tearful.”
Citing another cabin crew member, Sam Buchanan’s evidence, he said: “Nelson subsequently demanded services in the future only from the white member of the crew. He accused the defendant of shouting very loudly to add to the menace that he was exuding. All deliberate say the crown. That was when the white girl reference was allegedly made.”
“It’s no trifling complaint that one has misbehaved on an airplane at 3,000 feet to the extent that a restraining kit has been made ready,” Tanney went on.
Tanney said Nelson’s claims that he never used “racist language” were a “conspiracy theory”.
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Sales, in her closing submissions to the trial, said: “Mr. Nelson accepts he was tired, petulant, churlish. He said, ‘He didn’t want that one serving him, he wanted another one’ – maybe words that you and I might not use to speak to cabin crew, but certainly not racist.”
“The prosecution put it to Mr. Nelson, ‘Oh, you were drunk – that’s why you acted in this way,’ but we know not a single one of the prosecution witnesses said Mr. Nelson was slurring. They did say he had the boozy breath,” she went on. “It wasn’t white one, it was as Mr. Nelson explained, he only wanted to be served by ‘her’.”
This story was originally published by SWNS.