Liam Stacey of Pontypridd, South Wales has been given a 56 day custodial sentence after making what the judge called, “vile and abhorrent” comments, according to reports on the BBC and elswhere.
21 year old Stacey was arrested after his offensive comments, about the collapse of Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba during a recent match, were forwarded on to police by other users of Twitter.
A second year biology student at Swansea University in Wales, Stacey reportedly broke down in tears as he was lead away to begin his time in jail.
According to the Guardian, district judge John Charles told Stacey,
“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. You committed this offence while you were drunk and it is clear you immediately regretted it. But you must learn how to handle your alcohol better.”
Although Stacey claimed that his account had been hacked and later tried to delete his page, he was arrested the following day at his student house.
Along with a jail sentence and being no longer welcome to most people on Twitter, Stacey’s academic work is also in question. A spokesperson from Swansea University said: “The student remains suspended from the university pending the conclusion of our disciplinary proceedings.”
Muamba had suffered cardiac arrest on the pitch and is still in intensive care where his condition is described as serious but stable.