Blue star Lee Ryan has been handed a 12-month suspended prison sentence for racially aggravated common assault by beating and behaving in an abusive way towards a cabin crew member.
The 40-year-old singer was “slurring his words and staggering around” after drinking a whole bottle of port before a British Airways flight from Glasgow to London City Airport on 31 July last year, Isleworth Crown Court heard.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft, for which he was handed a four-month suspended jail term to run concurrently.
After being refused more alcohol on the plane and told to return to his seat, Ryan made comments about flight attendant Leah Gordon’s looks and called her a “chocolate cookie” before grabbing her wrists.
Judge Nicholas Wood ordered Ryan to pay £2,500 compensation to Ms Gordon, £750 to another member of the cabin crew, Jade Smith, and £510 in costs.
Having seen psychological assessments of Ryan, and heard he has high-functioning autistic spectrum disorder, he concluded he did not pose an ongoing risk to the public.
At a previous court hearing, Ms Gordon said: “He was making comments about my complexion, you’re my chocolate darling, my chocolate cookie, and I’m going to have your chocolate children.”
She added: “It felt like he was saying I was beautiful for a black person because of the way he was describing my colour.”
Ms Gordon said Ryan later approached her from behind and said: “Before I get off this plane I need a kiss from you.”
She told him to “stay away” and he grabbed both of her wrists before passengers intervened.
Ryan said he had no memory of the incident.
At the same hearing, Ms Smith said Ryan asked to be upgraded from economy to business class but was refused as the plane was full.
She said “he was angry” and she cut him off from ordering alcohol when she noticed he was “slurring his words and staggering around”.
On 12 July this year Ryan had a charge against him dropped over a claim he assaulted a police officer after he successfully withdrew a guilty plea following what he claimed was “poor advice from his solicitor”.