THE Ryanair passenger who hurled racial abuse at a black pensioner as they boarded a flight last week has apologised, but insists he is "not a racist".
David Mesher, 70, appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain to apologise publicly for the first time since the incident aboard Flight FR015 from Barcelona Airport to London Stansted on Friday.
Footage shared widely on social media showed Mesher branding 77-year-old widow Delsie Gayle an "ugly black bastard" and telling her: "Don’t speak to me in a foreign language, you stupid ugly cow".
Former railway worker Mesher told GMB he lost his temper "a bit" after asking Ms Gayle to move from her seat but "she didn’t seem to want to get up".
He said he "absolutely" regrets his behaviour, adding: "I probably lost my temper a bit and ordered her to get up.
"I’m not a racist person by any means and it’s just a fit of temper at the time, I think.
"I apologise for all the distress you’ve had there and since."
But Ms Gayle has now rejected Mesher's apology, saying: "I don’t think so. You must forget and forgive but it's going to take a long time for me to get over what he has done to me".
Her daughter, Carol Gayle, added: "He says he wasn’t racist – he wouldn’t be saying words like that if he wasn’t racist."
The pair also renewed their criticism of Ryanair, saying they are still yet to hear from the Irish airline before branding its statement claiming staff had apologised as "lies".
On Wednesday, two West Midlands Police officers visited the sheltered retirement complex where Mesher lives in Birmingham on behalf of Essex Police, who will pass their investigation on to the Spanish authorities.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Essex Police explained: "There are agreed national protocols to follow when incidents are reported to have happened in another country.
"As such, we will be conducting an investigation to submit to the Spanish authorities in due course."