Football fan guilty of racial abuse
A man has been found guilty of racially abusing two Premier League footballers at a game in front of his wife, children and grandson.
Everton fan William Blything hurled the racist abuse at QPR's Korean captain Park Ji-Sung and Everton forward Victor Anichebe on October 21. Blything, of Moss Pits Lane in Wavertree, Liverpool, denied a single count of racially-aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress but was found guilty at West London Magistrates' Court on Monday.
Passing verdict, District Judge Jeremy Coleman said the defendant would not face a custodial penalty when he is sentenced on February 11. He said: "If the players had heard these comments - and there is no evidence that they did - it would have caused them upset."
The 42-year-old was arrested after he was reported to stewards by two fellow Evertonians as he watched the game with his wife, 16-year-old daughter, 11-year-old son and three-year-old grandson.
Giving evidence in court on Monday, Everton fan Neil Jordan said he was "outraged" by the abuse and tweeted a picture of Blything, referring to him as a "racist t***" before reporting him to stewards.
Mr Jordan said he first noticed Blything as he made one of his children cry by telling him to "man up" when QPR scored a goal. He later heard the defendant refer to Anichebe, who is originally from Nigeria, as a "f****** black monkey".
Mr Jordan said: "At that point I realised that it wasn't an isolated incident. There was clearly some intent to target that player because, in my opinion, of the colour of his skin, coupled with general agitation and abuse aimed at the home end and abuse towards another opposition player."
Louise Thomas, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Jordan was left "shaking and distraught" by the abuse. Also giving evidence, Everton fan John Murmame said he heard Blything shout "Take down that chink" in reference to Park. District Judge Coleman said he took into account that children had witnessed the abuse.
Defending himself, Blything admitted he had used "foul language" but said it had not been racial in nature. Originally from Southampton, he argued that both witnesses - who were at the game separately - had described the offender as having a Liverpool accent, whereas he does not.
Speaking outside court, he said: "I have never used that kind of language in my life - never have done and never will. I was brought up in a black community and my 17-year-old daughter has a coloured boyfriend. There is something wrong with the justice system as far as I am concerned."