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21 March 2012, 12:33
A Newcastle University law student who sent Stan Collymore a series of racist tweets has been spared jail.
21 year old Joshua Cryer admitted using the social networking site to bombard the football pundit with abuse in an attempt to "snare a celebrity".
Cryer told police he hoped to get a reaction from Collymore, who is a broadcaster for talkSport, campaigns against racism and is a supporter of the Depression Alliance charity.
The student, who lives in the Jesmond area of Newcastle, claimed his account had been hacked.
He later admitted a charge under section 127 of the Communications Act of sending grossly offensive messages.
District Judge Stephen Earl ordered that he complete a two-year community order with 240 hours unpaid work, and pay £150 costs to the court.
Cryer, who's originally from Burnley in Lancashire, was arrested in January after Collymore, a former England striker, reported online abuse to Staffordshire Police and they passed the matter to Northumbria Police.
In court, prosecutors said Cryer was "showing off'' and boasted to friends that he had "found a new hobby''.
The court was told "It was not impulsive. He has done this up to seven times over a period of days. He was intending to insult and abuse."
Passing sentence, Judge Earl said it would not serve society to send Cryer to jail.
But he said he would make an example of Cryer, who had acted in a way which was "foolish, immature, and pathetic".
The judge went on to say
"I find it difficult to fathom what on Earth you thought you were doing. It was stupid and you ought to have known better.
You were a legend in your own head in this attention-seeking moment.''
He said people should think before they tweeted.