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Radio Sandwell African / Caribbean News

Football fans jailed for abusive Stephen Lawrence chants

2013-10-31 20:31:56

Six football fans have been jailed for chanting songs which "glorified and idolised" the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

The Charlton Athletic supporters were jailed for singing and chanting on a train after an FA Cup match at Fulham.

The group were found guilty of racially aggravated fear of violence and sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Prosecutor Baljit Ubhey said their racially and sexually abusive language left people "shocked and disgusted".

"These men were singing and chanting racist abuse in praise of the convicted murderers of Stephen Lawrence. To glorify and idolise these men was disturbing and upsetting," she said.

Banned from matches

Passengers on the service between Putney and Waterloo called the police after hearing the group chanting songs about Gary Dobson, who had recently been found guilty of murdering black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence was murdered in Eltham in 1993

British Transport Police officers worked with the football club to identify the men and arrest them two weeks after the incident.

David Bone, 23, and Daniel Clay, 31, from south-east London, were each jailed for 18 months and given an eight-year football banning order.

Ben Boylett, 26, and Jason Butler, 31, from south-east London, were jailed for 12 months and given eight-year football banning orders.

Sean Fowle, 25, and Aaron Phinbow, 25, from south-east London, were sentenced to eight months in prison and given eight-year football banning orders.

A seventh man, Jake Embery, 22, from south-east London, was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 18 months. He also received a six-month curfew order and a football banning order of four years.

'Totally condemned'

Ms Ubhey, London's chief crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, said witnesses had felt intimidated and feared there was a real and significant risk of violence.

Mick Everett, Charlton FC's head of operations, said: "The club was shocked to hear of the rowdy, intimidating behaviour, and the chanting of racist songs on a train by a handful of our supporters.

"Their actions are totally condemned by everyone at the club and indeed, I am sure, by Charlton supporters everywhere.

"Although this isolated incident does not reflect on the overwhelming majority of our fans, these arrests are a kick in the teeth to everyone associated with the club, who have put so much effort into our campaign over the years.

"The club will now look to impose additional appropriate sanctions on those involved."

Det Sgt Jane Hill, from British Transport Police, said: "This minority blight the rail journeys of many ordinary passengers and stain the reputation of the game and the country.

"They also continue to cause us problems that require significant resources to contain."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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