Hereford & Worcester

Paul Grange: Offensive Hillsborough T-shirt was 'banter'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHillsborough T-shirt offence man says he's "lost everything"

A man who wore an offensive T-shirt relating to the Hillsborough disaster said it was 'banter' with Liverpool-supporting friends.

Paul Grange, 50, of Worcester, admitted a public order offence and was fined £600 by city magistrates earlier.

He said he had deservedly "lost everything" after wearing the T-shirt in a pub beer garden on 29 May.

The wording on the shirt suggested the disaster was "God's way" of helping a pest control company.

Magistrates heard Grange ordered the T-shirt from a printing firm.

When he wore it at the Brewers Arms pub in the St Johns area of Worcester, he was asked to leave by the landlord and arrested the following day.

More on this and other Worcester stories

Image copyright @khfc_laura
Image caption The offensive T-shirt was pictured in a pub garden in Worcester

A statement by Louise Brookes, whose brother Andrew was one of 96 football fans to die as a result of the April 1989 Hillsborough disaster, said the T-shirt caused her hurt, anxiety and sleepless nights.

"For 27 years, I have had to listen to and read of such hatred directed towards my family," she added.

Representing himself in court, Grange said: "Hearing that statement, it's hit home, the personal effect of it.

"It (the T-shirt) was only supposed to be between friends."

Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests
Image caption Hillsborough victim Andrew Brookes was a car worker from Bromsgrove. He travelled to the stadium with friends, who all survived.

Grange expressed remorse, adding: "Because of my own actions, I have lost my home, my job, my friends, my family and relationship.

"And it's deserved - I don't think it's any less than I deserve."

Grange pleaded guilty to "displaying threatening/abusive writing/sign/visible representation likely to cause harassment/alarm/distress".

In addition to a £600 fine, the 50-year-old, of Columbia Drive, Worcester, was ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge and £135 in costs.

In April, an inquest concluded the 96 fans were unlawfully killed while attending the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in Sheffield.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites