Briton who put hand up flight attendant's skirt sentenced in France

The plane landed mid-route in Nantes after the sexual assault

The flight from Leeds to Alicante was cut short following the assault
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A retired British man has received a 10-month suspended sentence from Nantes criminal court for putting his hand up the skirt of a cabin crew member on a flight to Spain last year.

The Jet2 flight from Leeds to Alicante in Spain landed in Nantes after Paul J. sexually assaulted Léonie G, 26, as she was serving passengers on November 12, 2022.

When her colleagues were made aware of the assault the pilot decided to land in Nantes. Léonie G was immediately examined by judicial police who confirmed that she had suffered a recent traumatic event.

They also found Paul J., aged 66, to be heavily intoxicated, with an alcohol blood level of 2.2 grams per litre.

Both parties travelled from the UK to Nantes criminal court for the proceedings on Monday October 9, 2023, speaking through interpreters when required.

‘Psychological trauma’

The court heard that the flight attendant had suffered “significant psychological trauma with effects that continue today.”

Following the assault Léonie G. was initially given five days leave from work but ultimately required three months to recover, during which time she reportedly struggled to eat and sleep and required psychotherapy.

Paul J. stated that he had no memory of the event.

“If that is really what I did I can never apologise enough,” he told the court.

A psychiatric evaluation of the former labourer indicated that while he has struggled with alcoholism for several years there were not any mitigating circumstances for the assault.

Speaking in his defence, Paul J.’s lawyer highlighted the procedural peculiarity of the case being heard in Nantes when both parties were from the UK.

He also pointed out that his client had “indicated his desire to stop drinking” and now attends alcohol anonymous sessions three times per week.

Prosecuting, the procurer pointed out that the defendant’s position had shifted. Initially, Paul J. had told the Nantes judicial police that “maybe I did something in my sleep”, before claiming “my tremors may have made my hand move.”

The court granted the procurer’s request for a 10-month suspended sentence, but not the requested flight ban for Paul J. or a ban on him entering airports.

However, the court did agree to ban Paul J. from accessing Leeds airport for two years, starting after his return from Nantes.

The case, initially due to be heard in December, 2022 was twice delayed, once due to the need for a psychological evaluation of Paul J., and a second time due to scheduling issues.

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