Beds, Herts & Bucks

Footballer Alfie Barker gets death threats over Harry Arter tweets

Alfie Barker
Image caption Alfie Barker said he has received "all kinds of threat, 24/7"

A non-league football player has said he and his family have received death threats since he abused a footballer on social media.

Hitchin Town forward Alfie Barker sent an offensive message to Bournemouth's Harry Arter on Twitter about his stillborn child.

The post was made after the team drew with Arsenal on Tuesday.

Mr Barker, who was sacked from his club and a carpentry firm, said he had received "all kind of threats, 24/7".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bournemouth's Harry Arter during Tuesday night's game against Arsenal

Bournemouth had lost a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 in the Premier League match.

Mr Barker later posted: "Big hype just for a disappointment like the nine months leading up to your child's birth."

It was in reference to how Mr Arter and his partner Rachel's baby daughter Renee was stillborn in December 2015.

Mr Barker, 18, said people have since threatened to break his legs and to kill him.

He said his parents have also received calls saying "we know where you live, expect a visit" and that there have been calls for him to never play football again.

'Second chance'

The teenager, who had worked as a carpenter for eight months, said: "I feel really scared, I don't know what's going to happen to me if I go out by himself.

"I'm 18 years old, I made a mistake but everyone deserves a second chance."

Mr Barker has ADHD and said he had mixed his medication with alcohol on the evening he posted the tweet.

He initially claimed his account, which has now been deleted, had been hacked, before apologising.

"I regret it massively," he said.

"I'm saying sorry because I want to say sorry and I mean it, not because I've been caught out."

Seventh-tier Hitchin Town ended Mr Barker's contract with "immediate effect" due to his "irresponsible and anti-social behaviour".

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