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Golfer Says He Can't Recall Odd, Criminal Acts on Flight

Thorbjørn Olesen stands trial in London
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2021 5:30 PM CST
Golfer Says He 'Felt Horrible' About Alleged Behavior on Plane
Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen arrives Monday at Aldersgate House Crown Court in London.   (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

(Newser) – In a trial in England Tuesday, a Danish pro golfer was unable to explain the behavior witnesses attributed to him on a 2019 flight from Nashville to London, saying he has no memory of the trip. Thorbjørn Olesen is accused of sexual assault for touching a woman's breast, as well as a series of odd behaviors, the Guardian reports. Olesen is fighting the charges, saying he doesn't remember anything after he drank and took sleeping pills that day. He testified Tuesday that he would never consciously put his career at risk by committing a crime. Olesen was ranked 51st in the world in July 2019.

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One member of the British Airways cabin crew said it was the worst behavior she had seen in 27 years of service, Witnesses said Olesen pushed an airline employee and kissed another's hand, then made the sign of the cross. He ran around the plane "like a little boy," they said, couldn't open the restroom door, and urinated on the seat of another passenger. Witnesses said he was put back in his seat and cried before falling asleep. He testified Tuesday that when he was told of the allegations, he "was just embarrassed and felt horrible." The accusations have cost him sponsorship deals, and he was suspended from the European and World Tours. The European suspension has been lifted pending the trial's outcome. His world ranking is now 440.

The golfer said he had several drinks before boarding, per the BBC, but wasn't drunk. Olesen said he'd planned to sleep "all the way to London" on the eight-hour flight and took several sleeping pills. He testified that he wouldn't have taken them if he'd known they were prescription, with side effects that Olesen said include sleepwalking and amnesia. "I am incredibly sad about what has happened," he said when he returned to play in April, per Golf Digest, "and would like to apologize to all the Danes who have supported me for so many years." (Read more unruly passenger stories.)

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