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Cole racism case pair in disguise for court hearing

By Barry Duggan

TWO men wore blonde wigs and moustaches when they appeared in court charged in connection with the racial abuse of former Manchester United star Andy Cole.

Cole (42) was travelling on an Aer Lingus service from Dublin to Manchester on December 29 when he was subjected to the abuse.


Passengers Gregory Horan (26) and Lee Byrne (28), who both admitted to being drunk on the flight, were arrested by police when the aircraft touched down. The pair were due to be sentenced yesterday at Manchester 's Minshull Street Crown Court.

But the case was adjourned until April 7 so a pre-sentence report could be prepared for Byrne.

Corrine Ransom, defending Byrne, said he was in a "precarious position" because of his previous convictions and was facing the possibility of a custodial sentence.

Byrne, of 52 Corduff Court, Blanchardstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence and being drunk on an aircraft at Trafford Magistrates' Court in December.

Horan, of 10 Sycamore View, Castleknock, Dublin, admitted being drunk on an aircraft.

A witness statement read out on behalf of Cole during the hearing spoke of his "disgust" at the abuse he suffered.

It read: "I was targeted because of the colour of my skin and I felt terrible afterwards.

"I was harassed by both of these males throughout the flight.


"I was disgusted by their language and by one of the individuals racially abusing me.

"I was shocked to see these two males were allowed to fly despite being clearly intoxicated," the former Manchester United star said.