Police fail to ban Stoke fan who called Brighton football supporter a lesbian
Authorities have been unable to get a football banning order against a fan of Stoke City FC who called a Brighton and Hove Albion supporter a lesbian.
Jason Goodwin, a fan of Stoke City FC launched into a tirade against Brighton supporter Carolyn Ansell who joined a bus stop queue with her 14-year-old son.
Goodwin, 29, told Ansell: “Go away you lesbian”, when she entered the bus stop.
Ansell confronted Goodwin and others shouted insults.
He was arrested after she reported his behaviour to the police.
Goodwin was fined £200 for the insult, but will not be banned from attending football matches in the future.
Prosecuting, John Dave said at North Stafford Justice Centre that the victim and her son had walked to the bus stop after the match between Stoke City and Brighton on 10 February.
Mr Dove told the Justice Centre: “The complainant left the stadium with her son and they entered the queue at the wrong end. The defendant said, ‘Go away you lesbian’,” reports the Sentinel.
Adding: “She confronted him and said, ‘Why is it OK for you to say that to me. The defendant and other men in his group told her to ‘f*** off’. She immediately went to two police officers and told them what had happened and pointed out the defendant. He was arrested.”
Speaking to police, Goodwin said both home and away fans had thrown verbal insults each others’ way, and that the comment was simply made in the heat of the moment.
But Mrs Ansell said in her victim statement that her son broke down in tears, and she felt she had to set an example for him by challenging Goodwin.
“I felt I had to challenge him as his comments were so offensive. He needed to know his behaviour was not acceptable. He became very aggressive and started to square up to me. Other people were telling me to f*** off.
“I was with my 14-year-old son. My son was in tears. It has made me question whether I would attend another football match with my family. At the present time I do not want to return to Stoke.”
At the Justice Centre, Goodwin, of Algar Road, Trent Vale, pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation; and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.
Mitigator, Mike Kimberley, said that tensions were running high because Stoke City had missed a penalty in the last minutes of the match.
Mr Kimberley said: “They jumped the queue and comments were made. They made some comments about his voice which upset him. He said, ‘Go away you lesbian’. The group started shouting f*** off and the police intervened. It was a one-off. It was on impulse. There was a degree of provocation.”
The mitigator added that the football banning order would not be a fair punishment for Goodwin, as he had watched matches at Stoke City both home and away for 22 years without any problems.
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Going on, he added: “There was no fight, no missiles. It was an unpleasant comment which he bitterly regrets and he apologises.”
The football banning order was not granted by magistrates, and they noted that the incident had taken place outside the ground.
There were some also some disputed facts which the magistrates cited in not handing down the banning order.
One magistrate, Kaye Mercer, told Goodwin: “We do not feel we have enough at this time to grant this order. However, you are very fortunate.
“You go along and support your team, you do not abuse the other supporters. You made that lady feel very uncomfortable. No matter what anyone else is saying, you do not need to join in.”