Former Sunday league manager locked up for posting racist tirade which sparked fears of violence
A former Sunday league manager whose racist outburst on social media sparked fears of violent reprisals has been locked up.
Sheffield United fan Jake Henderson posted the 50-second tirade on Snapchat after watching a Covid-19 briefing led by home secretary Priti Patel, on January 21, a court heard.
The 30-year-old, of Retford, made a number of unpublishable racial insults and added: “As a white man I won’t be listening to people of colour because they’re no good in positions of power.”
Prosecutor Dan Church said Henderson deleted the video after only ten minutes, but his childhood friend, Robert Cumming, reposted it, along with the line: “Haters gonna be hating” and four laughing emojis.
Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard Henderson has about 200 Snapchat followers, and 26-year-old Cumming, of Edlington, Doncaster, believed only 70 people saw his re-post.
The video was uploaded by a third party to Twitter, where it went viral. Some of Henderson’s social media comments – in which he bragged about being banned from Facebook for racism – were also collected and re-posted by a third party.
A Rotherham Borough councillor said: “The comments are very extreme and were not made in a joking manner. They were not off-hand racist comments – it was an ideological view.”
An English Defence League (EDL) hoodie was found in his property, and Henderson admitted attending one rally, but said he was no longer affiliated with the far-right organisation, and denied he was a white supremacist.
The court heard he has previous convictions for assault from 2012, and was convicted of threatening to fire-bomb a taxi company, in March 2015.
Rebecca Penfold, for Henderson, said. “He was having a difficult time at work and he found lockdown particularly difficult.
“In drink, he made a horrid video. He is exceptionally sorry for what he has done. He sent it to a closed group and then it went viral.”
She said that since the offence, Henderson has received death threats, his parents have needed police protection and he became suicidal. He lost his job, his relationship ended and he was forced to sell his home.
“His entire life crumbled away,” said Ms Penfold. “He has effectively become a hermit.”
She said that his friendship with Cumming also ended and he has lost his coaching role at a local Sunday league football team.
Ms Penfold said Henderson is now assisting Scotland Yard with information about far-right terrorism and intends to emigrate to France.
Lesley Pidock, for Cumming, said his behaviour was abhorrent, but he didn’t make the video and only shared it to a private group.
“He has no underlying beliefs and there is no evidence to suggest he does,” she said.
Henderson and Cumming both admitted sending a grossly offensive message by a public communication network which was racially-aggravated, and Henderson also admitted possession of cannabis, when they appeared in court, on June 29.
On Thursday, District Judge Andrew Meachin sentenced Henderson to 10 weeks in prison and Cumming to six weeks. They must both pay a £128 surcharge on their release.
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “The recording and subsequent sharing of this video exposed both these men as vile racists. Their disgraceful acts have caused considerable distress to many people and have rightly led to criminal convictions.