Man sexually assaulted teen girl on Ryanair flight

Jessica Magee

A MAN who sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl on a Ryanair flight from Manchester has been handed a suspended sentence.

Tareq Elkudir (61), with an address at Hunters’ Lane, Ashbourne was arrested after he disembarked from the plane in Dublin Airport.

He was highly intoxicated and passengers described him as drinking from the neck of a litre-bottle of whiskey during the 45-minute flight.

Elkudir pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of sexual assault on the Ryanair flight on May 2nd, 2022.

At a hearing today (Thursday) Judge Martin Nolan said Elkudir did not deserve to go to prison and handed him a fully-suspended sentence of 18 months.

Garda Danielle Black told Michael Hourigan BL, defending, that the teenage girl had travelled to Manchester the previous week on a short trip to visit family friends.

Her father had booked her ticket and checked her on to the flight and the girl was due to return on April 29, however she decided to stay a few days longer and booked her return flight for the day in question.

The teenager, who made a statement to gardaí after she arrived in Dublin Airport, said she had boarded the flight in Manchester shortly before 8pm and taken her seat in the middle of a row.

She said a man sat down in the aisle seat next to her and spoke to her continually during the flight, using profanities.

The man was drinking from a litre-bottle of Jameson and grabbed her hand with force several times.

The girl said Elkudir hit her a few times on the upper left arm and took her hand several times and kissed it.

The teenager said he was drunk and she was too scared to get up and move so she tried to just get through the flight.

At one point, Elkudir rubbed his right hand near her breast area and she moved away and turned to face the window.

She said Elkudir was still “being a pest” when the plane landed and as they were taxi-ing in towards the terminal, he tried to pull her in for a kiss a few times and she kept pushing him away.

She managed to get the attention of a woman in another seat and signalled for her to press the button to call cabin crew, but nobody came.

A male passenger in another row asked the girl if she was ok and she replied: “No, this man keeps touching me.”

The other passenger told Elkudir to back off and leave the girl alone, but he got very angry and stood up.

Cabin crew arrived and the teenager said she had told Elkudir she was 16 and that he replied: “I don't give a fuck.”

She said Elkudir had punched her twice, hard, on the shoulder and had asked if she had a boyfriend.

Elkudir was arrested on arrival but was highly intoxicated and not fit for interview until the following morning.

Gda Black agreed with counsel for the defence that Elkudir was a completely different person the following morning and was very apologetic.

He told gardaí he deserved his punishment and that he was really sorry.

Elkudir has one previous conviction for assault causing harm dating back to 1999.

Counsel said the accused had written a letter of apology to court and brought the sum of €3,000 as a concrete expression of his remorse.

The court heard that the teenager, who did not file a victim impact statement, is ready to move on with her life.

Elkudir has not come to garda attention since this offence and is married with three young children.

He is a Libyan national but has been living in Ireland for over 40 years.

Judge Nolan said that if the injured party does not wish to accept the money, it should be transferred to a charity of her choice.

The judge said the victim had been “unlucky” to happen upon Elkudir and had put up with 45 minutes of hassle, during which she was punched and grabbed near her breast.

Judge Nolan said Elkduri was unlikely to reoffend, and addressed him saying: “My advice to you is not to drink. It seems to get you in trouble.”