A Chelsea fan who posted anti-semitic and racist tweets aimed at Tottenham fans, including photos of Auschwitz and a man doing a Nazi salute, has been jailed.
Nathan Blagg, 21, who told police the tweets were “banter between mates”, was sentenced on Friday to eight weeks in prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of sending offensive messages between September 29, 2020 and February 5.
District Judge Michael Hamilton told Blagg only immediate custody would be a suitable punishment for the “abhorrent and grossly offensive” tweets.
He said: “Quite frankly, the content of these messages was despicable.
“References to the holocaust and other matters cannot on any view ever be categorised a banter.”Embed from Getty Images
Prosecutor David Roberts said the tweets about the Tottenham side were more offensive in the context of “a history of association with the Jewish community”.
Blagg, described as a life-long Chelsea supporter, posted a picture of the train tracks to Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz on Twitter with the message: “Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz”, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.
Another post featured a fake image of former health secretary Matt Hancock holding a microphone saying the same words.
Other tweets included a photograph and video of Nazi salutes, and one message referring to the German phrase adopted by Adolf Hitler’s party read: “Sieg Heiling around my living room as we speak.”
Blagg’s tweets were investigated by the security team at Chelsea, who passed them on to police after they were spotted by a West Brom fan.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police Central Football Unit arrested him in February and he was charged by postal requisition.
His sentence was increased by three weeks to reflect the racial hate crime element, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
Kalsoom Shah, from the CPS, said: “Nathan Blagg thought hiding behind a screen could shield him from the consequences of posting hateful and abusive content. That is absolutely not the case.”
“The day before a Spurs match he tweeted ‘for 48 hours I can tweet as much anti-Semitism as I like without being told off.”
Responding to the sentencing, Chelsea said: “We welcome the outcome of this case and the resulting custodial sentence.
“As a club, we will continue to work closely with the police and support the prosecution of such offences to show that posting hateful and abusive content has consequences.
Blagg, who was a season-ticket holder, has since been permanently banned from attending matches, the club heard.
Maeve Thornton, representing Blagg, who works in road construction and lives at home with his parents, told the court he has a “lack of maturity”.
She added Blagg, from Retford, Nottinghamshire, had removed himself from Twitter and was “deeply remorseful”.
Ms Thornton said: “It is clear that he has taken responsibility for his actions, I submit that his risk is significantly reduced and the probation report indicates that there is a very low risk of him re-offending in the future and he also indicates to me that there would not be a repeat of this offending.”
According to research commissioned by the PFA, over 40 percent of players received abusive messages on Twitter during the 2020-21 season.