Football fans who ripped up the Koran 'like confetti' convicted of public order offence

 

Two football fans who ripped up pages of the Koran, the Islamic holy book, "like confetti" at a game have been found guilty of a religiously-aggravated public order offence.

Middlesbrough supporters Julie Phillips, 50, and Gemma Parkin, 18, denied knowing the book was a copy of the Koran.

Parkin told Birmingham Magistrates' Court she was given the book at a Birmingham market and did not know what it was. Philips claimed she was simply trying to make "confetti" to throw during the game.

Passing sentence, court chairman Gordon Sayers said: "This was a very unpleasant offence and there was a degree of pre-planning involved."

He said Parkin was "well aware" of what she was doing and CCTV footage showed Phillips "ripping up the Koran and passing pages to a small group of other supporters". Mr Sayers said the offence "abusive and unpleasant".

Phillips was ordered to pay £730 and Parkin £620 in fines surcharges, and legal costs. The court did not impose a football banning order on the pair because it was not satisfied it would help prevent violence or disorder at future matches.

Both women had pleaded not guilty to causing harassment, alarm or distress during the fixture at Birmingham's St Andrew's ground on 7 December.