Student Liam Stacey has been sentenced to 56 days in prison for posting offensive comments to Twitter after the on-pitch collapse of Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba.
21-year old Stacey, a second-year biology student at Swansea University, was arrested after his taunting tweets were reported to police, admitting incitement to racial hatred.
The court heard how Stacey posted the offensive comments shortly after Muamba collapsed during the FA Cup quarter-final on March 17. Police received complaints about Stacey’s remarks from Twitter users across Britain, including former England striker Stan Collymore.
When questioned, Stacey claimed to have been drinking heavily, and that he had tried to delete his Twitter profile, texting a friend to say, “I said something about Muamba that I shouldn’t have and tweeted back to some people who abused me. Getting police on me now, which isn’t good at all.”
Later Stacey claimed that his Twitter account had been hacked.
Crying throughout the hearing, Stacey was told by District judge John Charles that: “It was racist abuse via a social networking site instigated as a result of a vile and abhorrent comment about a young footballer who was fighting for his life.
“At that moment not just the footballer’s family, not just the footballing world but the whole world were literally praying for his life. Your comments aggravated this situation. I have no choice but to impose an immediate custodial sentence to reflect the public outrage at what you have done.”
Swansea University have suspended Stacey ahead of a disciplinary hearing, and a petition calling for him to be expelled has received over 200 signatures.
Fabrice Muamba remains in intensive care at the London chest hospital where his condition is serious but stable.
(Image credit: Wales News Service.)