Law student avoids jail over tweets

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A law student who sent Stan Collymore a series of racist tweets has been spared jail.

Joshua Cryer, 21, admitted using the social networking site to bombard the football pundit with abuse in an attempt to “snare a celebrity”, a district judge at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.

Cryer told police he hoped to gain a reaction from Collymore, who is now a radio pundit, campaigns against racism and is a supporter of the Depression Alliance charity.

The Newcastle University student, who lives in the city’s Jesmond area, claimed his account had been hacked.

He later admitted a charge under section 127 of the Communications Act of sending grossly offensive messages.

District Judge Stephen Earl ordered that he complete a two-year community order with 240 hours unpaid work, and pay £150 costs.

Cryer, from Burnley, was arrested in January after Collymore, a former England striker, reported online abuse to Staffordshire Police and they passed the matter to their Northumbria Police counterparts.

The student, who is captain of a Newcastle University football team named BarceLawNa, had called the 41-year-old a “coon”.

Prosecuting, Veronica Jordan said Cryer was “showing off” and boasted to friends that he had “found a new hobby”.