Student jailed over Muamba comments

 

Welsh university student Liam Stacey (21) was jailed for 56 days today for inciting racial hatred after posting offensive comments on Twitter following the collapse of the Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba.

The 23-year-old midfielder was left fighting for his life after suffering a heart attack during an FA Cup tie on March 17th.

Fans watched live on TV as he fell to the ground during the quarter-final clash at Tottenham Hotspur.

Police were inundated with complaints as members of the public reported the student’s comments on Twitter.

Stacey, a Swansea University biology undergraduate, was quickly tracked down and arrested.

Last week he admitted inciting racial hatred when he appeared briefly at Swansea Magistrates’ Court and today he was jailed for 56 days at the same court.

District Judge John Charles told him: “In my view there is no alternative to an immediate prison sentence.”

He said that when Muamba collapsed, “it was not the football world who was praying for him... everybody was praying for his life”.

Stacey was led away in tears after being sentenced.

The first of his messages began with “LOL (laugh out loud). **** Muamba. He’s dead!!!”

A number of people then took him to task for his views and he responded with a further string of offensive comments aimed at other Twitter users.

Last week's court hearing was told Stacey admitted to police he had sent the tweets after getting drunk watching Wales v France in the Six Nations rugby match.

He told officers he “didn’t know” why he had made the comments, stressing he was not a racist as some of his friends came “from different cultural backgrounds”.

The court also heard the defendant later texted a friend saying he said “something about Muamba I shouldn’t have”.

In a separate case last week, magistrates in Newcastle ordered another student to complete a two-year community order with 240 hours unpaid work for sending a string of abusive tweets to former footballer Stan Collymore.

Newcastle University student Joshua Cryer (21), admitted sending the messages to the former Liverpool, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest player, who now works as a radio and television pundit.

PA