A teenager has been sentenced to six weeks in prison for racially abusing England and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford following the Euro 2020 final last year.
The final between England and Italy was held at Wembley on July 11, 2021, where Rashford missed a penalty. Following his miss, 19-year-old Justin Lee Prince sent out a racially-charged tweet aimed at the footballer.
In his first interview with the police following his arrest, Price denied abusing the star online, but later admitted to it in a second round of questioning by officers.
The senior crown prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, Mark Johnson, said: “Price targeted a footballer based on the colour of his skin and his action was clearly racist and a hate crime. Those who racially abuse footballers ruin the game for all. I hope this case sends out the message that we will not tolerate racism and offenders will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Price, from Worcester, initially denied the charges during an interview with the police, but he then went onto plead guilty to sending a grossly offensive message on a public communications network at an earlier hearing on March 17.
Appearing in Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court this week, Price was sent down for six weeks for the hate crime. When sentencing him, District Judge Ian Strongman said: “At first, you denied it, but after talking with your mum, you had second thoughts. But you must have realised the writing was on the wall because you were linked to that tweet.
“The electronic age has brought many benefits with social media, but unfortunately some people take the view that it’s a licence to send abusive messages, especially to high-profile people while hiding behind a social media profile, saying things they’d never say in person to them.”
At court, Price’s solicitor said that his client felt “ashamed and embarrassed” by his actions.