Olesen ‘sexually assaulted woman’, court hears

Thorbjorn Olesen is a five-time European Tour winner

Ryder Cup winner Thorbjorn Olesen “grabbed and rubbed the breast” of a woman and “urinated” in the aisle during a British Airways flight in 2019, a court has heard.

The Danish golfer, 31, was also accused of being “drunk and disruptive” and swearing at members of the cabin crew.

Olesen has denied sexually assaulting a woman, being drunk on an aircraft, and assault by beating of a second woman.

His trial began at Aldersgate House Nightingale Court in London on Monday.

Olesen had been competing at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis before boarding a flight from Nashville to Heathrow on 29 July 2019.

The jury was told Olesen had no memory of his behaviour onboard the plane after drinking alcohol and taking sleeping pills.

In a witness statement read to the court, the woman Olesen is alleged to have sexually assaulted said he had been “unsteady” on his feet.

She said: “He grabbed my hand and kissed it. He would not let go. He nuzzled his head into the nape of my neck. I thought he clearly did not know what he was doing.

“I was very wary of his behaviour as he had been aggressive towards crew members. He had his right hand around my back. He then grabbed my breast and moved his hand over my right breast. I felt shocked. It had overstepped the mark.”

One member of the cabin crew said Olesen “appeared highly intoxicated and totally spaced out”.

Another said she had “never come across such bad behaviour on board a flight” in 27 years of service.

In a statement, she said she had served Olesen two drinks early in the flight.

“I was aware there was another passenger in the cabin drinking pink champagne and I saw Mr Olesen drinking from their glass,” she said.

“My attention was drawn to Mr Olesen and his travelling companion. It appeared they were trying to have some form of party.”

Later, she said she tried to help Olesen back from the toilet but he went past it and into business class.

She said: “He pushed me with his right hand on my right shoulder, saying: ‘It’s all about you isn’t it? Just go away.’ He had assaulted me.”

At this point she asked golfer Ian Poulter for assistance, and her colleagues intervened.

“While carrying out my service, I could hear Mr Olsen shouting,” she said.

“About four hours into the flight I was made aware that a passenger had pressed the call bell to inform the attendant that Mr Olesen had got up and urinated over the male, his seat and the aisle.”

Cabin service director Graham Gee said Olesen swore at him “on several occasions” and was “staggering” around.

The captain on the flight told police he had held discussions with colleagues about the possibility of diverting the flight if the situation involving Olesen “escalated”.

He said after he was informed that Olesen had allegedly urinated in the aisle, he entered the cabin and “saw a trail of liquid going from first class”, and made arrangements for special cleaning of the aircraft to be undertaken on arrival in London.

Poulter described Olesen to police as “a hard-working individual who is dedicated to his profession”.

He said he took some sleeping pills, but “had not given any sleeping tablets to Thorbjorn” and had later assisted Gee in helping Olesen back to his seat.

“He looked a little worse for wear and I just assumed he had had too much to drink,” Poulter told the police.

The court also heard fellow golfer Justin Rose “kept coming into the galley to see what was going on”.

Court heard a member of cabin crew had “noticed a small group of people gathered around seat 2E and they had brightly coloured pills”.

She said: “I heard someone say ‘oh I’ll have one of those’ but I do not know who it was.”

In a police interview on 29 July, Olesen said “he could remember getting on the plane and having some pills”.

He said he had had “five or six drinks” before getting on the plane, but denied he was drunk, stating he had taken up to four sleeping pills at the start of the flight.

The trial continues.

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