Footballer convicted of hate crime after homophobic abuse of opponent

Bexley Magistrates' Court

Tower Hamlets FC player Ayokunle Odedoyin, from Barking, was convicted at Bexley Magistrates' Court - Credit: Google

An east London footballer who verbally abused an opposition player has been convicted of a homophobic hate crime.

Tower Hamlets FC player Ayokunle Odedoyin, from Barking, targeted Sheppey United’s Jahmal Howlett-Mundle with a "vile" homophobic slur during an FA Cup game on August 7 last year.

Mr Howlett-Mundle had publicly come out as bisexual around 10 days before the incident, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Tower Hamlets FC were losing the game when Odedoyin, 32, made a late tackle on the victim and verbally abused him.

Following a trial at Bexley Magistrates’ Court, Odedoyin was convicted yesterday - Thursday, June 23 - of one count of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

He will be sentenced at the same court on July 12.

The CPS say it will apply for an uplifted sentence to take into account the hate crime element.

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Rebecca Helliwell, from the CPS, said: "Calling out and prosecuting homophobic language is vital to stamping out hate crime.

"These vile slurs have no place on our football pitches or society.

"The prosecution case against Odedoyin included eye-witness testimony from those who witnessed the incident and CCTV footage from the game on the day."