A student who mocked footballer Fabrice Muamba on Twitter after the Bolton player collapsed wept as he was jailed for 56 days for making racially offensive comments on the site.
Liam Stacey, 21, posted insulting remarks after the player fell on the pitch during Bolton Wanderers’ FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur on March 17, Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard.
The comments – which were made as the 23-year-old midfielder lay motionless on the ground – sparked outrage among other users of the social networking site.
The first of Stacey’s messages began with “LOL (laugh out loud). **** Muamba. He’s dead!!!”
Stacey then made further abusive remarks, including racist posts directed to black users.
Police were inundated with complaints.
District judge John Charles said he took into account the student’s early guilty plea and the fact that he had been “in drink” at the time but he said the comments were “vile and offensive” and his sentence had to “reflect public abhorrence”.
He also faces being thrown out of Swansea University, after he was suspended from his biology course over the case.
Stacey, who was told by the judge he had done “untold harm” to his future, was in his third year and had wanted to be a forensic scientist.
He wept as he was handcuffed and led down to the cells.
Earlier, three of Muamba’s Bolton teammates – Zat Knight, David Wheater and Jussi Jaaskelainen – were seen visiting the London Chest Hospital, where the player remains in serious condition but is said to be making “encouraging progress”.
Medics carried out CPR on the Congo-born player on the pitch at White Hart Lane and his heart did not start beating on its own again for nearly 80 minutes.
The match has been replayed, with huge applause in support of Muamba, who was said to be getting updates on his team’s progress from his hospital bed.
Heart consultant Dr Andrew Deaner, who ran from the crowd and on to the pitch to help save Muamba, watched the replay from a box as a guest.