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03rd Feb 2021

Ian Wright responds after teenager who racially abused him escapes conviction

Ian Wright has responded to the news that the teenager who racially abused him on Instagram escaped a criminal conviction

Reuben Pinder

“We are all tired.”

Ian Wright has responded to the news that a teenager who admitted to racially abusing him on Instagram has avoided a criminal conviction in a court hearing.

Patrick O’Brien from County Kerry in Ireland sent Wright abusive messages on Instagram after losing a game of FIFA on his PlayStation in May last year.

The 18-year-old pleaded guilty to harassing Wright on May 11, but Judge David Waters saw “nothing to be gained” from imposing a criminal sentence on the teenager.

The judge noted O’Brien had shown genuine remorse for his actions, and had donated 500 euros (£440) to the Irish Network Against Racism out of his own volition.

O’Brien was described as a “naive young man.” O’Brien also sent an apology to Wright, who publicly forgave him, but as he has since clarified, he was not expecting that forgiveness to be interpreted as an invitation to lighten a sentence.

In a statement posted to his social media channels, the former Arsenal and England striker said:

“I’ve seen today’s judgement and I’m disappointed.

“This case was never about revenge, it was always about consequences for acts of racism.

“My forgiveness of this young man was for my own deeply personal need and desire to move forward without further anguish. I’m a 57-year-old man that has experienced racism throughout my life. I wasn’t expecting my forgiveness to be an invitation to lighten a sentence.”

“Seeing this judgement,” he continued, “I can only wonder what deterrent there is for anyone else who spouts this kind of vile racist abuse.”

“An individual wished death upon me because of my skin colour. No judge’s claims of ‘naivety’ or ‘immaturity’ will ever be acceptable to us.

“The supposed immaturity and naivety of our attackers is never any comfort.

“So yeah I am disappointed. I’m tired. We are all tired.”

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