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Date: 15 December 2017

  World - Soccer


News Headlines

Fabrice Muamba: Racist Twitter user jailed for 56 days

[Posted 27 Mar 2012]
[By BBC Sport]
Liam Stacey, the student who racially insulted Muamba, at the Swansea Magistrates Court

A student who admitted
posting racially offensive comments on Twitter about footballer Fabrice
Muamba has been jailed for 56 days.


Swansea University student Liam Stacey, 21, from Pontypridd,
admitted inciting racial hatred over remarks about the Bolton Wanderers
player, who collapsed during a FA Cup tie at Tottenham.


A district judge in Swansea called the comments "vile and abhorrent".


Muamba, 23, who suffered a cardiac arrest, is still in intensive care.


Sentencing Stacey at Swansea Magistrates' Court, District
Judge John Charles told him: "In my view, there is no alternative to an
immediate prison sentence.


"It was not the football world who was praying for [Muamba].... everybody was praying for his life."


Stacey broke down in tears as he was led away to begin his jail term.


As he passed the public gallery, he was briefly embraced by friends and his parents.


A second year biology student at Swansea, Stacey was arrested
after his comments on the social networking site were reported by other
users.


A number of people challenged Stacey on Twitter following his
first comment, and he responded with a number of offensive posts aimed
at other Twitter users.

Last week the court heard how Stacey posted the offensive comments
shortly after the former England Under-21 star collapsed during the FA
Cup quarter-final at White Hart Lane on 17 March.


Magistrates were told police forces across Britain received complaints following the comments.


'Disciplinary'


Stacey tried to "distance himself" from the tweets by claiming his account had been hacked, the court was told.


He later tried to delete his page but was arrested the following day at his student house in Swansea.


When interviewed by police, Stacey said he had been drinking
since lunchtime on Saturday and was drunk when he made the comments.


Stacey was initially released on bail pending sentence and was ordered not to use Twitter and other social networking sites.


Jim Brisbane, chief crown prosecutor for CPS Cymru-Wales,
said: "Racist language is inappropriate in any setting and through any
media.


"We hope this case will serve as a warning to anyone who may think that comments made online are somehow beyond the law."


A Swansea University spokesperson said: "The student remains
suspended from the university pending the conclusion of our disciplinary
proceedings."


Stacey is also registered as a player with Treorchy rugby club, where he has turned out for the second team on occasions.


A statement after his arrest said: "The club wishes to
completely disassociate itself from these comments and will be carrying
out a full investigation into this matter."


There has also been a reaction on Twitter to the sentence,
with Lord Sugar - former Spurs chairman - saying "Be warned idiots!,"
while Gary Lineker posted "Let it be a warning to all you immature
souls. #thinkbeforeyoutweet"


Muamba remains in intensive care in a London hospital where his condition is described as serious but stable.


Bolton and Tottenham play their re-arranged FA Cup fixture on Tuesday evening, with a minute's applause before kick-off.

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