Sentencing of Tralee teenager who harrassed Ian Wright postponed

Patrick O’Brien, 18, was due to be sentenced at Tralee District Court in Co Kerry
Sentencing of Tralee teenager who harrassed Ian Wright postponed

The sentencing hearing of a Tralee teenager who admitted to harassing former Premier League footballer Ian Wright has been postponed. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

The case of an 18-year-old man who has admitted sending crass and racist messages to former footballer Ian Wright after his "character" failed to perform to expectations in a virtual soccer match, will be finalised next week, Tralee District Court was told, this Wednesday.

Patrick O’Brien of Sycamore Court, Ashleigh Downs, has already pleaded guilty to two charges in relation to the matter. 

He has admitted harassing Mr Wright on May 11, 2020 contrary to the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.

O’Brien has also admitted that on the same date he sent by phone a message that was grossly offensive, obscene and menacing, contrary to the Post Office Act 1951.

Former England footballer Ian Wright was shocked by the abuse he received from a Tralee teenager but forgave his late-night online harasser, a previous court has been told.

And in a victim impact statement, Mr Wright urged Patrick O’Brien (18) and those who may have taught him or enabled such hate, “to change for the better”.

O’Brien, had sent “crass” and “racist” messages to the former Arsenal footballer late at night after he lost a virtual soccer match on a PlayStation game, Fifa, where he downloaded Wright to play for him, Tralee District Court was told in November.

The Ian Wright character did not perform as well as he hoped, so O’Brien messaged Ian Wright privately on Instagram.

As well as racist slurs, the young man said in the messages to Mr Wright that if he got coronavirus, he would cough in the footballer’s face and give him a death sentence, the court was told.

The matter had been postponed until January 27 for a probation report to be handed into court, and to fix a date for sentencing.

Patrick Mann, solicitor for Patrick O’Brien, referred to a “helpful five-page report” from the Probation Service and agreed to a date of next Wednesday to finalise sentencing in the matter.

The court has already been told O’Brien has no previous convictions and had never come to the court’s attention before or since.

Judge David Waters has remanded him on continuing bail to appear next Wednesday, February 3.

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