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Football supporter admits homophobic abuse at Midlands Premier League derby game

|News, Hate crime

A supposed football fan has pleaded guilty to homophobic abuse at a match.

Steve Carstairs, 44, has today (16 February) admitted shouting homophobic slurs at the Midlands derby between Aston Villa and Leicester on 5 December 2021.

Carstairs, while seated in the Leicester away end, shouted homophobic abuse at Villa Park after the home team scored. A West Midlands police officer heard the highly offensive remarks and instigated his arrest.

The CPS authorised West Midlands Police to charge Carstairs with a Public Order offence which was homophobically aggravated in nature.

Carstairs was fined £200, including a 25 per cent increase for committing a hate crime, as well as £135 costs and £34 victim surcharge.

Preena Mistry of CPS West Midlands said: “Carstairs committed a homophobic offence at a football between Aston Villa and Leicester. The defendant’s hideous comments would have caused great offence to those who heard him including children standing near him. The CPS will not hesitate to prosecute hate crime in circumstances such as these.”

The CPS is currently working with the police, clubs, player bodies and football authorities to explain how these crimes are prosecuted and what information is needed to pass the charging threshold and build strong cases.

Douglas Mackay, CPS Sport Lead Prosecutor, said: “Chanting at football matches can add to a great atmosphere but if it is homophobic in nature the CPS will take that conduct extremely seriously. There is no place for hate in our football grounds. Sport is inclusive and we will work closely with the football authorities, clubs and charities to drive hate away from the game.

“The impact on people who are challenged for their personal characteristics can be profound. Some people do not care about that and persist with hateful mob behaviour. We will not hesitate to prosecute anyone accused of these actions where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.”

Graeme Smith, Chair of Foxes Pride, Leicester City’s LGBTQ+ supporter group, said: “No one goes to the football to hear abuse or LGBT-phobic language that makes them feel unsafe. This case sends a clear message that LGBT-phobic abuse is a crime and should not be tolerated. Everyone should feel safe to report it when they hear it, and be confident they will be taken seriously. We look forward to continuing our work with Leicester City FC to ensure that football is a safe environment for all.”

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