Fans cleared of homophobic chants at footballer Sol Campbell
A 14-year-old boy and a 42-year-old man who were found guilty of shouting “disgusting” homophobic abuse at footballer Sol Campbell have had their convictions overturned.
Ian Trow of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, and the 14-year-old, who cannot be named, had denied indecent chanting at the Portsmouth v Tottenham Hotspur game in September last year.
They were accused of shouting: “Come on gay boy, that’s my gay boy”.
In May, Trow was given a £500 fine and a three-year ban from attending matches, while the 14-year-old was fined £415 and also received a ban.
However, after an appeal, the cases were heard again at Portsmouth crown court.
Reviewing the footage of the fans, Judge Price said: “We can hear the crowd, we can hear the words ‘gay boy’. We can’t be sure those words came from Mr Trow’s mouth; we can’t be sure those words came from the boy’s mouth.”
Trow told the Milton Keynes Citizen he and the boy had refused the option of being given a police caution, saying they wanted to prove they were innocent.
He added he intended to pursue civil action against the police for the “living nightmare” he had endured.
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Video footage played in court at the trial in May showed up to 2,500 fans shouting chants such as: “Sol, Sol, wherever you may be, Not long now until lunacy, We won’t give a f*** if you are hanging from a tree, You are a Judas c*** with HIV”, “Campbell you are a c**** ” and “Sol’s a wanker.”
In a statement read out in court, Campbell said he felt “victimised” and “disgusted” by the chanting.
He said: “I felt absolutely disgusted at this and I didn’t react because of my profile and I feared I might make the situation worse and cause problems.
“I felt totally victimised and helpless by the abuse I received on this day.
“It has had an effect on me personally and I do not want it to continue. I support the police in their action.”
Four other men were fined and banned from attending matches for three years in January in connection to chanting at the match.