Footballer jailed for Islamophobic tweets

Shaun Tuck was jailed for 12 weeks (photo taken by Liverpool Echo)

A semi-professional footballer has been jailed for making Islamophobic comments on Twitter after the Woolwich murder.

Striker for Witton Albion, Shaun Tuck, 26, was jailed for 12 weeks yesterday after confessing to the online abuse but denied being a racist, stating he made the comments during a “moment of madness.”

The footballer encouraged people to “bomb and gas every mosque in England” following the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich in May.

Mr Tuck also called for “Muslim children to be beheaded” in revenge for Lee Rigby’s killing whilst he was drunk and tweeting.

The footballer, who plays in the Northern Premier League, wanted “50 lads with swords and machetes to storm the mosques”.

Judge Miriam Shelvey stated that Tuck had tweeted during a period of “heightened racial tension” when community leaders, religious leaders and the victim’s family had called for calm.

She said: “These tweets contained threats of violence to innocent persons, including children, who would be victims solely because of their religion. They were promoting hatred of other community members entirely because of their religious beliefs.”

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Liverpool Magistrates Court was informed that Mr Tuck, from Norris Green, had been drinking after hearing the news of Lee Rigby’s death on May 22.

He tweeted the offensive messages on the day of the Woolwich attack and the following day.

Eddie Handley, prosecuting, said the matter was reported to the police and that after being arrested, Mr Tuck admitted sending the tweets.

Mr Tuck pleaded guilty to an offence under the Communications Act. When questioned by officers Tuck said it was “out of character” and his emotions were running high.

The court was told the tweets had been deleted within a matter of hours after they were posted.

Rachel Oakdene, who was defending Mr Tuck, said: “He denies being a racist, works hard, holding down a job as a kitchen delivery assistant based in Bootle, Merseyside, alongside his semi-professional football career.”

She said a jail term would jeopardise both jobs and leave him “with nothing.”

Ms Oakdene added: “He is of positive good character, he is very industrious and is a man of talent.”

“Drunken” rants

This latest jailing came weeks after semi-professional boxer, Tony Perrin, 27, from south London was arrested after he posted threats with a photo of himself wearing a balaclava and pointing a gun at the camera.

Perrin used a Facebook page in the name of “Tony Croydon”. He wrote on May 22, just after the Woolwich attack:

“24 hours ago those Muslim scum bag… took an innocent soldiers life. Not only that but other Muslims have praised their actions and given reasons as to why they did it. This is England. Our country, our capital and even if my beloved EDL and fellow countrymen do not follow my lead know this… I will do a lot worse than what took place yesterday and I have like minded people behind me. You Muslims aren’t the only people who make… explosives and your not the only people willing to commit acts of insane violence. Watch this space … Revenge will be taken!”

In court Perrin admitted that the handgun was only a BB gun and that he was drunk when he made the post. He also talked with a Muslim online soon afterwards – a conversation which led him to take down his post. But by this time it had already gone viral.

Perrin also lost his job as a scaffolder as a result of the publicity surrounding the case. EDL supporters have denounced Perrin and accused him of “damaging the cause.”

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