Football fans convicted of hate crime at game


Two female Middlesbrough football club supporters have today been found guilty at Birmingham magistrates’ court of attempting to deface a copy of the Koran at a football match last year.

The court heard how 50-year-old Julie Phillips and 18-year-old Gemma Parkin, both from Middlesbrough, attended the football match between Birmingham City FC and Middlesbrough FC which was being played at St Andrews on 7 December 2013.

During the game, club stewards observed Phillips produce a copy of the Koran from her bag, tear the pages from the book and chant racist songs. Parkin was then seen throwing the pages from the book around the ground.

The two defendants were identified and arrested by the police who later charged them both with racially/religiously aggravated harassment of which they were found guilty today.

Lauranne Middleton, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: "People from all communities, including football supporters who bring their families, which may include young children, to watch a match, all have the right to be protected from religious hate crimes.

"Where we have evidence that a crime took place because of hostility to someone's religion, as demonstrated by Julie Phillips and Gemma Parkin, prosecutors will ensure that this is treated as an aggravating factor, as we did in this case.

"It is vital that football fans recognise that such actions, as displayed by Phillips and Parkin, are treated by the criminal justice system as serious crimes and those caught will be robustly prosecuted."

  • Phillips was fined £300 with a £400 costs and a £30 victim surcharge
  • Parkin was fined £200 with a £400 costs and a £20 victim surcharge