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Peter Nelson, a 46-year-old, married father of three, was flying British Airways' business class during an eleven-and-a-half-hour flight from London's Heathrow Airport to Rio de Janeiro last June when he became irate upon being awoken by a cabin crew member seeking to take his meal order.
Having had apparently drunk a considerable amount of alcohol during the flight, the red-faced Nelson launched into a racially-charged, sustained verbal attack upon the offending female British Airways flight attendant, Sima Patel-Pryke.
As initially reported by South West News Service (SWNS) and picked up by FOX News, Nelson berated her: "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."
One of Patel-Pryke's fellow crew members testified that Nelson went on to demand that he be served only by a "white girl". Nelson, however, maintains that he never used racist language, only that he wanted to be served by "that one", but wanted "another one" of the cabin crew to serve him.
Witnesses confirmed that he was shouting at Patel-Pryke very loudly in the jet's galley. His raucous rant became so menacing that she began backing away in fright and was ultimately reduced to tears. At that point, more cabin crew were called in for support and obtained the pilot's authorization to ready a restraining kit in the event that he had to be forcibly subdued. It seems that Nelson backed down when finally threatened with arrest.
Nelson, who has worked as an external I.T. consultant for major pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in the U.K. for the past nearly 20 years, lives with his family in a $1.8-million, five-bedroom, detached house in Ascot, Berkshire.
At the conclusion of his court trial on September 6, 2019, a U.K. jury slapped Nelson with a unanimous "guilty" verdict on one count of racially aggravated abuse. Thereupon, Judge Edward Connell fined the defendant $2,450, as well as $615 compensation to his victim and $4,300 costs to the prosecution.
"I accept this conviction will have profound ramifications for you and your employability, so I'm just persuaded that this can be dealt with with a financial penalty," the judge surmised.
Although British Airways itself has not banned Nelson, nor, indeed, taken any action against him, Nelson has been fired from his job, and he and his wife have pulled their children out of their international school, and are considering moving back to New Zealand in the wake of his conviction.
Laurie Baratti is a San Diego-based journalist whose work has previously appeared in publications like TravelAge West, SPACE,...
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