A FOOTBALLER has been jailed for three months after tweeting that mosques should be burned following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.
Shaun Tuck, Witton Albion’s leading goalscorer last season, posted a series of offensive messages on Twitter in the hours after the soldier’s death in Woolwich, suggesting that revenge should be taken on Muslims.
The 27-year-old striker admitted an offence under the Communications Act when he appeared before magistrates last week, appearing again today, Wednesday.
Liverpool magistrates’ were told that Tuck had been drinking vodka following the news of Drummer Rigby’s death and was deeply upset by what had happened.
Eddie Handley, prosecuting, said the posts had been reported to police, with Tuck admitting to sending them on his arrest.
Tuck’s tweets, sent between May 22 and the following day, included a claim that his views are shared by others too afraid to say what they are thinking.
He also expressed support for the British National Party and the English Defence League.
When questioned by police, the forward – who lives on Mollington Avenue in Norris Green - said it was ‘out of character’ and a ‘moment of madness’.
The court was told that the tweets were deleted within hours of being posted after they were posted.
Rachel Oakdene, representing the player, said Tuck was still coming to terms with the death of his father last year and, if he had still been alive, things may have been different.
She said: “It is always a sad occasion when somebody like this young man appears before these courts.
“He is of positive good character. He is very industrious and a man of talent.
“Mr Harris, the chairman of Witton Albion, has supported Mr Tuck throughout, attending court on July 3 and attending here again today."
The court was told that Tuck deeply regretted his actions and the shame he had brought on his family, and would face disciplinary action from both his club, and the Football Association.
Ms Oakdene added that Tuck, who works as a job as a kitchen delivery assistant in Bootle as well having his semi professional football career, would be left with ‘nothing’ if he was given a jail term.
Jailing Tuck for three months, district judge Miriam Shelvey said the fact that Tuck had been drinking was an aggravating factor, rather than mitigation, but had taken his early guilty plea into account.
She said: “These messages were posted during a period of heightened racial tension following the brutal and public slaying of Drummer Lee Rigby at a time when community leaders, religious leaders, police and the victim’s family were calling for calm.
“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.”
Tuck is expected to serve half of his sentence.