herald

Monday 20 August 2018

Muamba racist tweeter fights jail term

A student jailed for mocking footballer Fabrice Muamba on Twitter after a near-fatal heart attack was due to appeal his sentence today.

Liam Stacey (21) was taken away in tears on Tuesday after being jailed for 56 days for admitting a racially aggravated public order offence. His lawyers were due before a high court judge at Swansea Crown Court, south Wales, today to appeal.

Stacey spent three days in jail since he broke down and was led away in handcuffs. Today, he was hoping the judge would drastically reduce his sentence or grant him his liberty by reversing it all together.

The Swansea University biology undergraduate triggered revulsion when he posted "LOL (laugh out loud). F*** Muamba. He's dead!!!"

His reviled tweet came quickly after the soccer star's collapse when his plight was attracting a wave of sympathy around the world.

Soccer fans watched in horror when Muamba collapsed during an FA Cup tie from a heart attack on March 17.

Millions witnessed the live screening of the clash against Tottenham Hotspur in which the Bolton Wanderers midfielder almost died.

While his tragic plight touched hearts around the world, a drunken Stacey went online to mock.

A series of highly critical replies pushed him into an online racist torrent. On Tuesday, he was led away sobbing from Swansea Magistrates' Court after breaking down on hearing his sentence.

Support for the jail term was widespread on the day it was handed down, and was subsequently widely debated on Twitter.

But a significant minority criticised his punishment and claimed it was politically motivated to make him into an example. His legal team launch was set to appeal the sentence today in a hearing before Mr Justice Wyn Williams which was expected to last up to an hour.

hnews@herald.ie

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