Tyne & Wear

Stan Collymore Twitter race abuser Joshua Cryer sentenced

Joshua Cryer
Image caption Joshua Cryer is a student at Newcastle University

A law student who sent former footballer Stan Collymore a series of racist tweets has been given a two-year community order by a judge.

Joshua Cryer, 21, of Jesmond, Newcastle, admitted racially abusing the former Liverpool, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest star.

Newcastle Magistrates' Court heard Cryer hoped to gain a reaction from the talkSport broadcaster.

District Judge Stephen Earl also ordered Cryer pay £150 court costs.

Cryer, a student at Newcastle University, had previously denied sending messages in January that were "grossly offensive".

Cryer, originally from Burnley, was arrested after the 40-year-old former England striker reported the incident to Staffordshire police, who in turn passed the matter on to Northumbria officers.

'Showing off'

The defendant was charged under section 127 of the Communications Act with sending grossly offensive messages.

Under the order, Cryer will have to do 240 hours of unpaid work.

Mr Collymore, originally from Cannock, Staffordshire, campaigns against racism and is a supporter of the charity Depression Alliance.

Image caption Stan Collymore played for a string of clubs including Liverpool, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest

Prosecuting, Veronica Jordan said Cryer was "showing off" and boasted to friends that he had "found a new hobby".

She said: "It was not impulsive. He has done this up to seven times over a period of days. That does not smack of impulsive behaviour.

"He was intending to insult and abuse."

Mitigating, Andrew O'Hanlon said: "He [Cryer] is not somebody I would regard as being a dyed-in-the-wool racist.

"The reason he contacted Collymore in the first place was he is a fan of his."

Passing sentence, Judge Earl said: "I don't doubt you are not an inherently racist person, but you did act in an intentionally racist way.

"I find it difficult to fathom what on Earth you thought you were doing. It was stupid and you ought to have known better."

Newcastle University said Cryer would be the subject of a disciplinary hearing.

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