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Blue's Lee Ryan convicted of assaulting female cabin crew member

The singer was found guilty of the racially aggravated assault of a flight attendant on a British Airways flight

Blue singer Lee Ryan arrives at Ealing Magistrates' Court in London, charged with abusing and assaulting a member of the crew onboard a British Airways flight and assaulting a police officer at London City airport in July. Picture date: Thursday January 12, 2023. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Lee Ryan arriving at Ealing Magistrates' Court. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Blue singer Lee Ryan has been found guilty of the racially aggravated assault of a female cabin crew member while drunk on a British Airways flight.

The incident took place on a flight from Glasgow to London on 31 July last year.

Ealing Magistrates' Court heard that the 39-year-old told a black flight attendant “I want your chocolate children” and asked her to kiss him.

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The singer was “slurring" and "staggering around” after drinking a bottle of port before the flight and was refused more alcohol on the plane.

Blue singer Lee Ryan arrives at Ealing Magistrates' Court in London, charged with abusing and assaulting a member of the crew onboard a British Airways flight and assaulting a police officer at London City airport in July. Picture date: Thursday January 12, 2023. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Lee Ryan was tearful in the dock. (PA Images via Getty Images)

It was alleged that he then went on to make comments about Leah Gordon’s looks, calling her a “chocolate cookie” before grabbing her wrists.

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.”

“It felt like he was saying I was beautiful for a black person because of the way he was describing my colour," she said.

She said the singer later approached her from behind, saying: “Before I get off this plane I need a kiss from you.”

Blue singer Lee Ryan arrives at Ealing Magistrates' Court in London, charged with abusing and assaulting a member of the crew onboard a British Airways flight and assaulting a police officer at London City airport in July. Picture date: Thursday January 12, 2023. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Lee Ryan was found guilty. (PA Images via Getty Images)

She said she told him to "stay away" and that he grabbed her wrists before other passengers stepped in.

“I was intimidated, I felt a bit embarrassed like I wasn’t doing my duty properly," she said.

“To get comments about my colour whether intentional or not, it was just unacceptable and so derogatory."

Ryan, who was tearful before giving evidence, said his actions were "playful" and that using the word "chocolate" was not racist.

He also claimed to have said "chocolate chip cookie", adding: "They're white, there was no malice in them (the comments)."

“I’m sorry," he said.

Referring to his bandmate Simon Webbe, he went on: “My band member is black, I’m not racist, I’ve had black girlfriends, mixed-race girlfriends. It was banter, just drunk banter I suppose, there was no malice or intention to upset anyone.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13: (L-R) Lee Ryan, Antony Costa, Simon Webbe and Duncan James of Blue perform live on stage during their 20th anniversary Heart and Soul tour at The O2 Arena on December 13, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images )
Blue on stage in December. (Getty Images )

He added: “I didn’t mean to cause any distress to anyone or be racist, it was just a poor choice of words I suppose.”

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He added: “I am sorry that I touched her, but that’s all I did, touch her lightly, by her admission.”

In an interview with police officers that was read out, Ryan said: "I wish I could ring her up and apologise and offer her some Blue tickets for the next tour.”

Additional reporting by PA.

Watch: Lee Ryan tells court he has no money and and cannot pay fine