Glasgow & West Scotland

Man jailed for racists tweets to Maurice Edu and Kyle Bartley

Maurice Edu and Kyle Bartley Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The court heard Maurice Edu (left) and Kyle Bartley were sent the tweets after playing for Rangers against St Johnstone

A man who sent racist tweets to former Rangers players Maurice Edu and Kyle Bartley has been jailed for six months.

Michael Convery, from Glasgow, targeted the players after a game against St Johnstone in Perth on 14 January 2012.

The 43-year-old had denied sending the messages but was convicted following a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

The players - who have since left Rangers - had told Convery's trial that they were "intimidated" and "shocked" by the tweets.

Although none of the messages were read out in full in open court, it was heard that Bartley was sent a direct comment from Convery and was mentioned in a second one. Edu was sent two direct comments.

Bartley told the court that he saw tweets from an account in the name of Michael Convery when he checked his Twitter account while travelling home on the team bus from a match.

Comments reported

He also saw a message had been sent to team mate Edu.

He said: "I was sat next to Maurice on the coach. So we showed each other the comments."

Bartley was asked what he did when he received a particular message.

He said: "I actually re-tweeted the tweet. It allowed the public eye to see the comments, and I reported it to David Martin, who is head of security at Glasgow Rangers."

The court heard the word "monkey" was used. Bartley said it was a comment he was "used to", adding that he felt "a little bit hurt and disappointed".

"I just thought society had got over these sorts of comments," he told procurator fiscal depute Jonathan Kemp.

"Obviously I don't know Michael Convery, I didn't understand why he would have so much hate for me."

'Very insulting'

Bartley was asked about another racist comment which mentioned his name, but was not sent directly to him.

He said it was "very insulting".

Bartley said he lived on his own and cannot always have security with him, adding: "I was intimidated".

Edu said he was shocked and embarrassed when he saw the first message that was sent to him.

The footballer said he looked on the page associated with Convery and said there were similar "aggressive" tweets.

The court heard that in his police interview Convery told officers he was suffering from food poisoning on the date of the offence and had been drifting in and out of sleep in his house.

In evidence, Convery told the court he suspected his teenage son was to blame, although he claimed he did not see any comments being posted.

Convery accepted the twitter messages came from his Blackberry phone and his Twitter account.

The court heard evidence that online searches for "how to delete Twitter" had been made hours after the tweets were sent.

Convery was branded an "unreliable" witness by Sheriff Valerie Johnston.

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