Liam Stacey, who was jailed for posting racist comments about soccer player Fabrice Muamba on Twitter, has spoken of his remorse.
The Pontypridd, Wales native was jailed for 56 days after being found guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence. Stacey sent a number of tweets containing racially charged comments after the Bolton Wanderers player suffered a cardiac arrest during a game in March.
Speaking to BBC Wales’ Week in Week Out show, Stacey claimed he didn’t know why he made those comments, though conceded that he’d “paid a big price” for his “drunken stupidity.”
“What I struggle to get my head around was the week or two before I was just a normal kid getting on with my work in university, getting on with life, playing rugby with all my mates,” he said. “[T]hen a week or two later I was just going to prison, everything had been turned upside down.”
Stacey added that his decision to send the tweets was a “stupid, massive, massive mistake.”
The student’s apology came during a program on Internet trolls, which looked into how the most vulnerable are often targeted. It profiled the mothers of two murder victims, whose Web memorial pages were attacked by trolls. The show also attempted to trap some trolls, something the BBC has attempted to do in the past.
For Stacey, his trolling of Muamba has ramifications beyond his conviction.
Swansea University said Tuesday that Stacey is suspended for the current academic year and is not allowed to return to campus. The biology undergraduate will be allowed to take his final exams next year though, albeit as an external candidate at an off-campus venue. If he passes, he’ll be allowed to graduate in absentia.
“We are mindful that he has been given a prison sentence, and therefore has already paid a price for his actions,” the university said. “He has expressed genuine remorse and we are satisfied that he understands that his behaviour was unacceptable, and damaging to the university.”
Stacey’s sentence was criticized by a senior European human rights official, who claimed that jailing the 21-year-old was too harsh.
That said, Stacey will certainly think before he tweets in the future.
Photo via BBC