Football fan who mocked mascot Bradley Lowery avoids immediate jail

A football fan who mocked mascot Bradley Lowery during a match against the youngster’s favourite team has been spared immediate jail by a judge who said his actions were “utterly appalling” and “disgraceful”.

Sheffield Wednesday fan Dale Houghton, 32, taunted Sunderland fans with a picture of Bradley, who died in 2017, on his phone during a match at Hillsborough Stadium on September.

Dale Houghton court case

Houghton, from Rotherham, admitted a public order offence at a previous hearing and on Friday he was given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work by District Judge Marcus Waite.

Mr Waite said: “You showed callous disrespect to a brave young man who was rightly held in the highest esteem by football fans everywhere.”