A 21-year old student who posted offensive Twitter comments about Fabrice Muamba as the footballer lay collapsed on a pitch has been jailed for 56 days for inciting racial hatred.
Liam Stacey, a Swansea University biology undergraduate, provoked disgust with tweets posted as the 23-year-old Bolton Wanders midfielder was fighting for his life following a heart attack during a FA Cup quarter final match against Tottenham. The game was broadcast live on television.
The first of Stacey's messages began "LOL. Fuck Muamba. He's dead!!!"
As fellow Twitter users took him to task for his views, Stacey responded with further offensive comments.
He was arrested after numerous Twitter users, including former England international Stan Collymore, reported the tweets to police. Stacey admitted inciting racial hatred during a brief appearance at Swansea Magistrates Court last week.
Today, District Judge John Charles told him: "In my view there is no alternative to an immediate prison sentence."
Charles said that when Muamba collapsed, "it was not the football world who was praying for him... everybody was praying for his life".
He added that abusive remarks made to Stacey "via a social networking site were instigated as a result of vile and abhorrent comments made as a result of a young man who was fighting for his life".
As he was led away in handcuffs to a holding cell beneath Swansea Magistrates' Court, Stacey broke down in tears. He was led past the public gallery where, shaking with emotion, he was briefly embraced by family and friends.
Fabrice Muamba’s recovery since his heart attack on March 17 has been described as “miraculous”. He remains in a serious but stable condition in intensive care, and is reported to be eating, sitting out of bed, watching television and speaking with friends in both English and French.