Man denies online abuse of Premier League footballer Romaine Sawyers

Josh Payne, PA
·1-min read

A man charged after a police inquiry into online racist abuse of a Premier League footballer has denied a Communications Act offence.

Simon Silwood, 49, is accused of sending an offensive message to West Bromwich Albion midfielder Romaine Sawyers via social media in January of this year.

On Thursday, Dudley Magistrates’ Court was told Silwood is alleged to have committed the offence on January 26 by sending “a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene and menacing character”.

Simon Silwood entering Dudley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (Matthew Cooper/PA)

Silwood spoke only to confirm his personal details and enter a not guilty plea during a short hearing on Thursday.

West Midlands Police charged Silwood earlier this month after an investigation carried out by Pc Stuart Ward, who is the UK’s first dedicated hate crime officer within a football unit.

The court appearance comes a day after Sawyers issued a video message on the Premier League’s website calling on social media users to think more about the impact that sending abusive messages can have on recipients.

Silwood, of Randall Close, Kingswinford, West Midlands, was granted unconditional bail until his trial at Walsall Magistrates’ Court on September 9.