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A fan who racially abused West Bromwich Albion star Romaine Sawyers online has been jailed for eight weeks.
Simon Silwood, 50, from Kingswinford in the West Midlands, was found guilty of sending Sawyers a 'malicious communication’ earlier this month.
Mr Silwood made the repulsive comment directed towards Sawyers, who is currently on loan at Stoke City, on Facebook. The message was posted on January 26 following West Brom's 5-0 loss to Manchester City.
District Judge Briony Clarke, sentencing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, also ordered Silwood to pay £500 compensation to Sawyers and £500 costs.
Passing sentence, District Judge Clarke said: “This is, Mr Silwood, a serious offence. There is no place for racism or racist abuse online. This clearly, in my view, crosses the custody threshold.
“I assess the remorse you have for your actions as very minimal indeed.”
Mr Silwood had denied sending the offensive message when appearing at Walsall Magistrates' Court on September 9, claiming it was a result of autocorrect.
But that was dismissed and he was informed that he would serve half of his eight-week sentence in prison before being released on license.
Mr Silwood has since been banned for life by West Brom following the incident.
Following the sentencing, Sawyers said that he hopes the case will act "as a deterrent to others".
"I welcome the custodial sentence today issued to Simon Silwood and I am now focused on putting this incident behind me," Sawyers said.
"Racial abuse towards anyone, in any circumstance, is totally unacceptable, and I hope this case will serve as a deterrent to others.
"This is an incident that has affected me deeply, but I would like to encourage fellow players to report all racial abuse to the police. We must together stand strong in order to rid the game, and wider society, of this hideous behaviour.
"It is widely accepted that social media companies must do more to stop the publication of racism on their platforms. I again urge them to take the necessary action required to prevent anyone from receiving the abuse I experienced.
"I would like to thank PC Stuart Ward and Ian Skidmore of West Bromwich Albion for their tireless support and professionalism during what has been a difficult eight months for me personally.
"I would also like to applaud the Baggies fan who bravely came forward to report what they had seen. It is important we all remain vigilant in the fight against racism, so please, if you are aware of racism, it is essential you report it.
"It is important to me to turn this negative experience into something positive and I will, therefore, donate the £500 awarded to me as compensation to a local West Midlands charity."
- Premier League
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