England fan jailed over racist Facebook rant after Euro 2020 final penalty shootout

Date published: Wednesday 3rd November 2021 12:01 - TEAMtalk staff

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An England fan who racially abused three England players on Facebook after the Euro 2020 final has been jailed.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Jonathon Best, 52, livestreamed himself on the social network ranting about Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka. The trio all missed penalties in the shootout against Italy which England lost.

On Tuesday, Best was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison at Willesden Magistrates’ Court.

He had previously pleaded guilty to sending by public communication network a grossly offensive or indecent or obscene or menacing message or matter.

The CPS said the court heard Best, a forklift driver of Feltham, west London, was caught out after a colleague and Facebook friend reported the 18-second clip to both Facebook and the police after he refused to take it down.

Facebook took the clip down three days later.

Elaine Cousins, from the CPS, said: “While the majority of the nation took great pride in the Three Lions reaching their first international final in more than 50 years. Jonathon Best took to Facebook to livestream a barrage of racist abuse at the three players who missed penalties during the game.

“He used social media to publicly vilify these three young men who tried to score for England. When approached by a Facebook friend asking him to remove the grossly offensive content, Best replied: ‘It’s my profile, I can do what I want.’

“There is absolutely no room in the game, nor elsewhere, for racism. The CPS is committed to bringing perpetrators of hate crime to justice where there is the evidence to do so.”

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‘Appalling hate crime’

She added: “I would like to thank the individual who reported this appalling hate crime. And I hope this prosecution goes some way in educating and deterring people from posting hate on social media.”

Following the case, the CPS announced it is working to explain what evidence is needed to pass its legal tests. So that charges can be brought in hate crime cases.

Elizabeth Jenkins of the CPS said: “Hate crimes such as these have a massive impact on players and their mental health.

“The CPS takes this kind of offending very seriously. And this case shows that where offensive content is reported to the police we can successfully bring offenders to justice.”

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