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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Millwall FC fans handed football ban after mocking deadly Leicester City helicopter crash

Two Millwall FC fans have been convicted of tragedy chanting after making “deeply offensive” gestures during a match against Leicester City earlier this year.

Father and son Peter and Freddie Brooks were filmed at Millwall’s south-east London homeground The Den, making helicopter gestures to Leicester fans and pointing at a helicopter before laughing.

The Met police said it was “clearly” a reference to the 2018 helicopter crash outside Leicester's King Power Stadium that killed the club’s then owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and four others.

Met officers identified the two men and removed them from the Millwall ground after Leicester City fans notified police about the footage.

“Officers were also supported by Millwall FC in identifying the pair,” said the Met in a statement.

“After being ejected from the game, both men were later charged via postal requisition with a public order offence.”

The Met said the men’s actions “crossed the line” and were “quite simply a hate crime”.

On Wednesday, they appeared at Bromley Magistrates’ Court where both pleaded guilty.

Tributes paid at Leicester City Football Club after chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and others died in a helicopter crash in 2018 (PA Archive)

Freddie Brooks, 18, of Rolls Road, Bermondsey, was given a 12-month conditional discharge, and was required to pay £85 in costs and a victim surcharge of £26.

His father Peter Brooks, 48, of the same address, was fined £266 and required to pay £85 in costs and £106 victim surcharge.

Both men were also issued with a three-year Football Banning order.The men were convicted under recently introduced ‘tragedy chanting’ legislation.

The tougher legal guidance was introduced to crack down on football fans mocking tragedies such as the Hillsborough disaster, the Munich air disaster, the Bradford Fire, and the death of Emiliano Sala.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has committed to stopping supporters engaging in offensive behaviour by threatening to ban them from games.

DC Phil Dickinson, Football Investigations Team, said: “These convictions demonstrate the zero tolerance approach we are taking to those who partake in so-called ‘tragedy chanting’.

“While such incidents might previously have been viewed as simply being in poor taste, they are now rightly being recognised for what they are – vile offences which cause upset and outrage.

“We are familiar with fans taunting their opponents at football matches, but this is generally done and taken in good humour and without offence.

“This incident crossed the line of what is acceptable. It was quite simply a hate crime.”

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