A student arrested for posting racially offensive Tweets about Fabrice Muamba could face a prison sentence.
Following the footballer's on-pitch collapse during the Tottenham versus Bolton Wanderers game on Saturday, 21-year-old Liam Stacey updated his Twitter account with the abusive status. His arrest came after his tweets were reported to the police by a number of various UK Twitter users, including former striker Stan Collymore.
The biology undergraduate spent Sunday night in custody, and was brought to court earlier today - admitting incitement to racial hatred. Stacey was then released on bail with the condition that he abstains from using Twitter and other social networking sites, and will be sentenced next week. The student was also told that he faces the possibility of imprisonment.
The rise of 'trolling' - posting a number of cynical remarks on an innocent user with the aim to inflict severe harm and disruption - has led to a number of police agencies taking the matter a lot more seriously in an effort to reduce the number of troll incidents.
Lisa Jones, prosecuting, said: "Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch and was believed to have died. Shortly after, Stacey posted on Twitter: 'LOL, F**k Muamba. He's dead'".
Jones claimed a group of other Twitter users criticised Stacey's update, prompting him to post a number of offensive comments.
He told police: "I was at the bar when I heard what had happened to Muamba."
"I don't know why I posted it. I'm not racist and some of my friends are from different cultural backgrounds."
Stacey was reportedly close to tears upon hearing the evidence given relating to the tweets.
To date, Muamba remains in a stable but critical condition.
Source: The Guardian