Grandad paraded with penis out & slapped passenger on British Airways plane

A grandfather-of-25 slapped a senior TV executive mid flight from America to London after marching through the packed plane with his penis exposed.

Hatam Hamad, 56, necked five glasses of wine then whipped out his penis and put it within three inches of the face of Joel Vilmenay, who was with his wife and two young children.

Furious Mr Vilmenay, president of New Orleans TV channel WDSU, then confronted the Palestinian and American dual national – but he “responded by grunting” and showed himself to another passenger, a court heard.

Father-of-nine Hamad, who runs a family petrol station in New Orleans, was handed a six-week jail sentence at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Friday, suspended for one year, after he admitted assault by beating.

Prosecutor Wendy Barrett said the incident unfolded about six hours into the British Airways BA224 flight from New Orleans to Heathrow on October 10.

Hatam Hamad paraded with his penis out and slapped a passenger (c) SWNS

Hatam Hamad paraded with his penis out and slapped a passenger (c) SWNS

Reading a statement from Mr Vilmenay, she said: “He explains he was travelling with his wife and two children, aged eight and five, he had just taken his daughter to the bathroom and returned to his seat.”

Mr Vilmenay, who was not in court, added in the statement: “After about five minutes a male, Mr Hamad, came down the aisle to me, directly to my chair where I was sitting with my kids.

“My daughter was awake and my son was asleep.

“This male had his penis out and exposed within three inches of my face.

“At this time I felt shocked and then attempted to stand up and shouted at the male, ‘what are you doing?’”

He said Hamad refused to put his penis away and “responded by grunting” before exposing it to another passenger.

Mr Vilmenay said: “At this moment he used the back of his right hand and slapped me in the chest with some force.

“I was very concerned by what he might do to me and my family and the other passengers around us.”

Cabin crews were alerted to the incident on Aisle 23 and were forced to take Hamad to the back of the aircraft where he was guarded for the rest of the flight.

Miss Barrett said: “Mr Vilmenay sat back down and was concerned obviously about his daughter being exposed to this behaviour.

“Cabin crew, once alerted, approached Mr Hamad. He had to be escorted to another part of the plane.

“Other passengers were moved from the very back row.

“Because of his behaviour a member of the flight crew stayed with him for the remaining period of the flight.

“Mr Vilmenay, he was made to feel angry, upset.”

His statement added: “At the time I was shocked and felt threatened, I was very concerned for my son, daughter and wife.”

Miss Barrett said: “Having been arrested for this incident by police who met the flight at Heathrow he was taken back to the police station and interviewed.”

Hamad initially denied the attack and told police he boarded the flight alone, drank “five cups of wine” then went to sleep.

Miss Barrett said: “He said he didn’t get up, speak to anybody or touch anybody. He did explain he did not normally drink but was a nervous flier.”

He told police he had not drank alcohol for three months prior, adding: “I’m not crazy, I did not do the things you say.”

Hamad, who has no previous convictions, initially pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing but today admitted assault.

Miss Barrett said: “There’s a specific vulnerability experienced by passengers on board a flight.

“When these events happen over 30,000 feet in the air, and people behave in an unpredictable and violent way, there’s obviously that extra layer of fear caused to those involved in the incident and those who have to deal with him.”

Defending, Ranveer Authwall said it was “a serious matter and he’s fully aware of that.”

She said he has lived in New Orleans for 35 years and runs a petrol station and shop with his family of nine children and 25 grandchildren, who “all reside together”.

He was en-route to Jordan with $25,000 in cash to build a house there, she said.

Miss Authwall said: “Mr Hamad is anxious that he does not receive a custodial sentence. It’s also going to have an impact on his family.”

Chair of the bench, Lyn Green said: “We’re going to send you to prison for a period of six weeks, however this period of being in prison will be suspended for one year.”

She added: “There will be a compensation order for the victim of £600, a surcharge of £115 and costs of £85.

“You have pleaded guilty but there are a lot of aggravating features to this.

“You were in a restricted area on a plane, you used a member of crew for a substantial amount of time.

“There were children present when this occurred and you were under the influence of alcohol.”


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