A drunken off-duty British Airways cabin crew manager, who twice groped a snoozing male business-class passenger between the legs on a long-haul flight to Bangkok, has been placed on probation.
Paul Speak, 47, “clocked” the young man, who was travelling alone, and pounced as he dozed in the darkened cabin while wearing an eye mask.
The second time he was fondled the victim grabbed Speak’s hand and shouted: “What the f*** are you doing? Stay away.”
Speak, of Hawkes close, Langley, Slough was found guilty by an Isleworth Crown Court jury of one count of sexual assault on October 12, last year.
He received a twelve-month community order, which includes 160 hours community service work, and must pay £400 costs.
Speak must also sign the sex offenders register for five years.
Recorder Bruce Houlder QC told Speak: “Whilst the internal aircraft light was dimmed and while you thought the complainant was asleep you twice moved your hand up his leg and touched his penis over clothing.
“The touching appears to be brief and the second time the passenger complained to the crew and you remained in a seat reserved for crew for the remainder of the flight.
“Fortunately for you it was reported to the UK police rather than the police in Thailand.
“You were a manger with British Airways, you must have been aware of the gravity of the offence you were committing and the staff knew who you were.
“You did falsely suggest the complainant was mistaken in that you touched him and you have not expressed remorse of any kind.”
Speak is now unemployed after BA sacked him after an internal disciplinary hearing before the trial.
The victim told the jury he caught Speak looking at him soon after boarding. “It was a stare straight to me and a smile.”
He recalled the touches as he dozed in his seat. “The first time was the feeling of a light breeze on my thigh.
“I felt it again and saw the same guy walking back to his seat. “It was a light touch on my thigh, the inner thigh.
“Something happened again and I caught the hand. It was in the crotch area.”
The passenger says his penis was touched above his clothing.
“He mumbled and stumbled. I saw embarrassment on his face, shocked that he had been caught.
“I think that he might have been drunk.”
Prosecutor Miss Kathy Hirst told the jury: “The complainant, who was travelling alone, noticed another gentleman in a distinctive pink shirt walked down the aisle and ‘clocked’ him.
“There was eye-contact and he held his gaze.”
She said the the first incident occurred four hours after taking off from Heathrow, with Speak, a BA cabin crew employee, using his staff points to fly.
“On two occasions the complainant says he was touched above clothing on his penis.
“He was woken by someone running his hand over his thigh area, near his crotch.
“He raised his eye mask and saw the man in the pink shirt retreating.
“It happened again forty minutes later. The hand went up towards his waistband and it seemed to be prolonged.
“He saw the same man in the pink shirt walking up the aisle.”
The passenger reported Speak to the cabin crew and a member of staff spoke to the defendant.
“It was obvious to her he was drunk and she told him a complaint had been made.
“His eyes rolled and he fainted and fell to the floor.”
Speak, who denied touching the passenger, was questioned by police on his return to the UK.
“He disputed he assaulted the complainant and accepted he was wearing a pink shirt.
“He said he forgot to take his medication for high blood pressure and had a few drinks before take-off and took a sleeping pill.”
Today his lawyer Mr. Jake Taylor told the court: “He had a long and distinguished career at BA and finds himself in a large amount of debt.
“Having lost his job he will lose his property and is relocating to live with his parents.
“After a period of reflection he will be a benefit to society one more.”