Bradley Lowery: man charged over ‘taunt’ at football match

<span>Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

A man has been charged with a public order offence after the image of football mascot Bradley Lowery was displayed during a match.

The six-year-old Sunderland fan, who struck up a close friendship with the team’s striker Jermain Defoe after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma, died in 2017 having helped raise more than £1m for charity.

Police had received reports that two men had allegedly displayed an image of Bradley at the Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland match – played at Hillsborough on Friday evening – to taunt opposition fans.

South Yorkshire police said Dale Houghton, 31, from Rotherham, was arrested on Saturday and had been charged with a section 4a public order offence.

Houghton was remanded in custody and was due to appear before Sheffield magistrates on Monday morning. Police said they had also applied for a football banning order.

A 27-year-old man, also arrested on Saturday, was released on police bail while further inquiries were conducted.

Bradley was a mascot for Sunderland several times, with fans chanting his name at games and holding banners saying: “Cancer has no colours.”

Bradley and Defoe – a Sunderland player from 2015 to 2017 – also led England out at Wembley for a World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

After the incident on Friday, Bradley’s mother, Gemma Lowery, wrote on X: “Understandably people are angry, if I wasn’t so upset I’d be angry too. Bradley was and still is well loved in the football community, which I’m eternally grateful for, but I must ask that everyone lets the police do their job.”