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Fan admits making racist tweets about Newcastle United

06 February 12 13:44
Peter Copeland at Sunderland Magistrates Court

A County Durham man has admitted posting racist comments on Twitter directed at Newcastle United.

Sunderland fan Peter Copeland, 29, was rowing online with a Newcastle United fan with what started as banter, Sunderland Magistrates' Court heard.

It was told he made derogatory comments about striker Demba Ba's appearance and the number of black Newcastle players.

Copeland, of Benridge Bank, West Rainton, admitted two offences under the Malicious Communications Act.

He is due to be sentenced on 27 February.

The comments were made in January following Newcastle United signing Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse.

Copeland told police there had been banter with a Newcastle supporter and his comments were an attempt to wind him up, the court heard.

'Stark reminder'

Peter Anderson, prosecuting, said: "He accepted he had gone way too far."

The court heard his tweets provoked 50 to 60 responses from other Twitter users unhappy with the remarks and the account was closed down.

Copeland said he was not racist, the court heard.

Ruth Forster, defending, said the row had started innocuously before escalating and her client making his "stupid mistake".

After realising how widespread his remarks had become, he wrote a letter of apology to Newcastle United.

She said: "From the outset Mr Copeland has been extremely remorseful.

"This case may act as a stark reminder that as soon as a comment is posted online it becomes available for the masses to see.

"He never intended his comments to reach a worldwide audience."

Miss Forster urged magistrates not to link the case to football's other high-profile race issues.

Chairman of the Bench Thomas Eastick adjourned the case for sentence after indicating a "medium level community order" was being considered.

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