Student dodges jail over volley of racist abuse fired at pundit Collymore on Twitter
13:41 GMT, 21 March 2012
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.
Cryer told police he hoped to gain a reaction from Collymore, who is a broadcaster for talkSport, campaigns against racism and is a supporter of the Depression Alliance charity.
Walking free: Joshua Cryer, 21, leaves Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday
The Newcastle University student, who lives in the Jesmond area of the city, 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 to the court.
Targeted: talkSPORT pundit Stan Collymore was the victim of the abuse
Cryer, from Burnley, Lancashire, 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.
Collymore, 41, originally from Cannock, Staffordshire, played for a string of top clubs, including Liverpool, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest.
Following the sentence, Collymore posted on his Twitter account: 'Would like to thank Northumbria & Staffordshire Police for their professionalism in dealing with this case.'