‘Anti-muslim’ tweeting footballer pleads guilty
From the Liverpool Echo:
Merseyside footballer Shaun Tuck today admitted sending a string of anti-Muslim tweets in the wake of the Woolwich murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.
Former Marine FC striker Tuck, who now plays for Witton Albion, tweeted that mosques should be “gassed out or bombed”, and that he would “be taking their kids’ heads off”.
Appearing today at Liverpool magistrates court, Tuck, 26, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Communications Act.
The Northern Premier League star, of Mollington Avenue, Norris Green, tweeted: “All the mosques in England should be gassed or bombed, or stormed by 50 lads with machetes, swords the lot. And make a statement.”
Other tweets, including the reference to beheading children, were sent between May 22 and 23, in the hours following the Woolwich attack.
Lynn Clark, prosecuting, said when questioned by police Tuck said he “had a moment of madness” after drinking large amounts of vodka, and denied he was racist.
Rachel Oakdene, defending, said Tuck earned £150 a week from football, supplementing his income with a job as a delivery assistant for a Bootle kitchen firm.
She told magistrates Mark Harris, the chairman of Witton Albion, was in court to support the player and would give evidence of his good character if necessary.
Ms Oakdene added: “They (the tweets) were posted over a matter of hours, so to that extent this is an isolated incident.
“It is over a short period of time where the defendant has had a lot to drink.”
The court was told Witton Albion, which has suspended the player while proceedings are ongoing, had close links to the charity Help for Heroes, and the Woolwich tragedy had had a particular effect on Tuck.
Ms Oakdene also said he was struggling to deal with the death of his father last year and had been drinking more than he should.
She added: “As soon as these proceedings are resolved, he will return to the club and his normal terms of employment.”
Magistrates were told a number of sentencing options could be considered, including prison.
They ordered a pre-sentence report to be produced before sentencing on July 10.
Speaking outside court, Mr Harris told the ECHO Witton Albion remained supportive of Tuck while the proceedings were ongoing.
He added: “Shaun Tuck remains suspended by the club, but we have a duty to him and his welfare as we have for all our players.”