After an investigation by the Metropolitan Police, Nathan Blagg, 21, of Retford in Nottinghamshire, was charged in September with seven counts of sending by public communication network an offensive/indecent/obscene/menacing message/matter which violates the Malicious Communications Act. The charges refer to seven tweets sent between 29th September 2020 and 5th February 2021.
Mr Blagg pleaded guilty to all charges. The court heard that Mr Blagg was initially reported by a West Brom fan before his posts were investigated by Chelsea Football Club’s security team and finally passed on to the police. The posts included images as well as tweets and retweets of offensive messages.
Prosecutor David Roberts said that there was a “racially aggravated” element because of the “antisemitic nature” of many of the tweets.
Maeve Thornton, defending, reportedly said that Mr Blagg had been suffering at the time from “low moods” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms Thornton said: “He has got drawn into this in terms of a lack of awareness and understanding of the impact this was going to have. With hindsight, he now understands how wrong this is. He is indeed very remorseful and very apologetic and has taken steps to address his offending by removing himself from Twitter. There is not going to be a repeat of this behaviour moving forward.”
However, today Westminster Magistrates’ Court sentenced Mr Blagg to eight weeks in prison.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “We welcome this sentence, which sends a message to fans that there is no place for antisemitism in football. We commend Chelsea FC and the police for investigating and seeing the case through. Kicking racism out of football will only succeed when all interested parties cooperate, as they have done in this case.”
In April, Chelsea Football Club announced that it had banned an abusive online troll from its matches for ten years after he hounded a Jewish journalist who came forward and received support from Campaign Against Antisemitism.