The person who took this photo says it shows Grant Hackett at Melbourne Airport. Photo: Channel 7
The person who took this photo says it shows Grant Hackett at Melbourne Airport. Photo: Channel 7

Grant Hackett accused of nipple assault on passenger

SWIMMING great Grant Hackett has been accused of grabbing a passenger by the nipple during a flight home from the Australian swimming championships.

Seven and News Corp reports said the Olympic legend was questioned by Australian Federal Police.

In a picture broadcast on Seven, the 35-year-old was seen slumping in a wheelchair beside police at Melbourne airport.

One passenger told The Daily Telegraph that Hackett had assaulted him after he put his chair back.

"As I reclined my chair he grabbed it and yanked it back," the passenger said.

"Then he put his hand through and groped my chest and tweaked my nipple quite forcefully."

"I was shocked and my partner turned around and he asked him what the hell he thought he was doing."

The former swimmer, who was reportedly in talks to be part of Seven's commentary team, allegedly threatened another passenger when he reclined his seat.

Seven News reported police sources as saying that during the flight Hackett "went to the toilet for an extended period, taking a bag with him.

Hackett has had a history of alcohol abuse problems.

Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert helped assist Hackett off the plane and walked him to a seat inside the airport terminal.

Pert accompanied Hackett to a toilet when police approached them.

Pert told the Herald Sun he saw Hackett on the plane tap the passenger in front of him and ask if he could put his seat up.

A flight attendant then asked Hackett to keep his hands to himself.

"Grant was not aggressive but did ask a passenger in front of him to not recline his chair back," Pert told the Herald Sun.

"It appeared as if he (Hackett) reached from behind the seat and tapped the man in front of him to ask if he could put his seat up.

"There was no altercation, no argument, no restraining behaviour from the flight attendants.

"After that, he (Hackett) literally sat back and fell asleep."

Hackett recently failed in his bid to make the Australian swimming team for the Rio Olympics.

Police have confirmed a 35-year-old man was spoken to at the airport but no charges have been laid.

Investigations are said to be continuing.

However, Seven reported that charges are unlikely as the passenger who was allegedly assaulted is unlikely to proceed with a formal complaint.