Collymore tweet student spared jail
A law student who sent Stan Collymore a series of racist tweets has been spared jail.
Joshua Cryer, 21, admitted using the social networking site to bombard the football pundit with abuse in an attempt to "snare a celebrity", a district judge at Newcastle Magistrates' Court has heard.
Cryer told police he hoped to gain a reaction from Collymore, who is a broadcaster for talkSport, campaigns against racism and is a supporter of the Depression Alliance charity.
The Newcastle University student, who lives in the Jesmond area of the city, claimed his account had been hacked. He later admitted a charge under section 127 of the Communications Act of sending grossly offensive messages. District Judge Stephen Earl ordered that he complete a two-year community order with 240 hours unpaid work, and pay £150 court costs.
Cryer, from Burnley, Lancashire, was arrested in January after Collymore, a former England striker, reported online abuse to Staffordshire Police and they passed the matter to their Northumbria Police counterparts. The student, who is captain of a Newcastle University football team named BarceLawNa, had called the 41-year-old a "c**n".
Prosecuting, Veronica Jordan said Cryer was "showing off" and boasted to friends that he had "found a new hobby". She said: "It was not impulsive. He has done this up to seven times over a period of days. That does not smack of impulsive behaviour. He was intending to insult and abuse."
Passing sentence, Judge Earl said it would not serve society to send Cryer to jail. But he said he would make an example of Cryer, who had acted in a way which was "foolish, immature, and pathetic".
He added: "You know this conviction will have a dramatic effect on your job and career prospects, but you put yourself here and you have to man up to that reality. I don't doubt you are not an inherently racist person but you did act in an intentionally racist way. You were a legend in your own head in this attention-seeking moment."
He said people should think before they tweeted. Mitigating, Andrew O'Hanlon said his client had many Asian friends. He said: "He is not somebody I would regard as being a dyed-in-the-wool racist. The reason he contacted Collymore in the first place was he is a fan of his."
Cryer, who attended court with his father and sisters, did not speak as the sentence was passed. Collymore, 41, originally from Cannock, Staffordshire, played for a string of top clubs, including Liverpool, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest.