'Despicable'  | 

Businessman put hand up teen flight attendant's skirt on plane at Dublin Airport

Cabin crew had already confronted Arturs Nagornijs over his drunken behaviour, when he lay across an elderly passenger’s lap, and urinated all over another seat

Arturs Nagornijs (41), a Latvian national based in Nice, France, leaving Dublin District Court yesterday

Andrew Phelan

A businessman put his hand up a flight attendant's skirt and sexually assaulted her on a plane at Dublin airport.

Company director Arturs Nagornijs (41) left the 18-year-old victim distressed and in tears when he groped her after the plane landed on a layover.

Cabin crew had already confronted him over his drunken behaviour on the flight, when he lay across an elderly passenger’s lap, and urinated all over another seat.

Describing the incident as "despicable", Judge Treasa Kelly ordered Nagornijs to pay €2,500 compensation, granted him bail and adjourned the case for two days.

The accused, from Latvia, pleaded guilty to sexual assault and two offences under the Air Navigation and Transport Act - intoxication on an aircraft and engaging in behaviour likely to cause serious offence or annoyance.

Arturs Nagornijs

Garda Jennifer Lynch told Dublin District Court Nagornijs was on a flight from Nice via Stansted to Riga and with a connecting flight in Dublin yesterday.

During the flight, it was brought to the attention of cabin crew that he was acting erratically and lying across an elderly woman’s lap. She was in the window seat beside him and his head was in her lap. He was told to desist but a short time later, he was lying down again, annoying the elderly passenger.

Cabin crew again asked him to sit up and he complied but as soon as they walked away he was doing it again. It was decided not to argue with him as the plane was about to land.

When passengers were disembarking, the accused was found to have locked himself into the bathroom and refused to come out.

When he exited, he went to the back seats where he urinated all over himself, the seat and the floor.

He was asked to get his passport and shoes and to leave but he refused to move. Nagornijs had difficulty understanding due to language issues and the victim asked another cabin crew member to get Google translate on a phone.

While Nagornijs was sitting down, the victim "felt a hand go up the back of her skirt between her thighs” and she jumped forward, shocked and “burst into tears,” Gda Lynch said.

The victim went to other crew and said “I can’t do this,” saying she had been sexually assaulted. The captain alerted air traffic control and the victim went with the gardai to make a statement. Nagornijs was removed from the plane by gardai and detained.

The victim had only been working for the airline for six weeks and was “far too distressed” to get on her return flight, the garda said.

She was still “extremely distressed.”

The soilage to the plane cost about €100, the garda said.

“The man obviously had too much to drink,” defence solicitor Eoin Lysaght said.

Nagornijs had no recollection of what happened at all, Mr Lysaght said. He wanted to apologise to those involved.

The accused had been working in Nice and was travelling home to Latvia, availing of cheap flights.

Judge Kelly said it was a “despicable incident” and what the air stewardess went through on the plane was horrendous.

She asked if the accused was prepared to pay compensation.

The court heard Nagornijs, director of a construction firm, was a “very well paid man” with over €100,000 at his disposal.

Gda Lynch objected to the accused being released on bail, saying the charges were serious and she believed he was a flight risk.

However, Mr Lysaght said Nagornijs would be unable to get the compensation from prison. Judge Kelly set bail in the accused's own bond of €2,000, with no cash required. Under conditions, he must surrender his passport and sign on twice daily at Ballymun garda station.

He was remanded on bail to appear in court again on Friday, when the judge said she would finalise the case.

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