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Man charged after picture of Bradley Lowery was held up at match

Man charged after picture of Bradley Lowery was held up at match

Two men were arrested following reports of supporters using an image of Bradley Lowery to taunt opposition fans.

A man has been charged with a public order offence after a picture of Bradley Lowery was displayed to 'taunt opposition fans' during Friday's clash between Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland.

Dale Houghton, from Rotherham, was arrested by South Yorkshire Police on September 30 after shocking pictures emerged showing a supporter displaying an image of cancer victim Lowery at the game.

Sunderland fan Lowery, who captured the hearts of a nation with his smile and love for football, sadly lost his battle with neuroblastoma – a rare form of cancer – in July 2017.

The six-year-old struck up a close friendship with former England international Jermain Defoe, and was a mascot on numerous occasions. He also helped raise over £1 million for charity.

Since the incident took place at Hillsborough, Houghton, 31, has been charged under Section 4a Public Order offence and will appear before Sheffield Magistrates' Court on Monday morning.

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

A 27-year-old man, who was also arrested on Saturday, has been released on police bail while further enquiries are conducted.

A statement from South Yorkshire Police was released on Sunday evening that read: "A man has been charged after we received reports that two men had displayed an image of six-year-old Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery who tragically lost his life to cancer.

"The reports came after the Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland match held at Hillsborough on Friday evening.

"Dale Houghton, 31, from Rotherham, was arrested yesterday (Saturday 30 September) and has now been charged with a Section 4a Public Order offence. Houghton has been remanded in custody and will appear before Sheffield Magistrates’ Court tomorrow morning (Monday 2 October). We have also applied for a football banning order.

"A 27-year-old man, also arrested yesterday, has been released on police bail while further enquiries are conducted."

Sheffield Wednesday launched an immediate investigation with South Yorkshire Police following the incident on Friday evening.

"We roundly condemn this outrageous and utterly deplorable behaviour," a spokesman from the Championship club said. "We can only apologise for the undoubted distress caused to Bradley's family and friends."

Image credit: The Mirror
Image credit: The Mirror

Bradley's mum Gemma Lowery, through the Bradley Lowery Foundation, said that police had been in touch to check on her wellbeing.

"Understandably people are angry, if I wasn't so upset I'd be angry too," she said.

"Bradley was and still is well loved in the football community, which I'm eternally grateful for, but I must ask that everyone lets the police do their job, and deal with the low lives.

"I want to thank Sheffield Wednesday, for their quick condemnation, and the support their fans have shown. Like we always say, cancer has no colours, and as we all know it can affect anyone at any time."

Members of the SWFC Women's Supporters Group have also set up a GoFundMe page to support the Bradley Lowery Foundation, and have so far raised over £15,000.

They wrote: "In light of the recent, sickening images circulating from the football fixture between Sheffield Wednesday FC and Sunderland AFC at Hillsborough on Friday 29th September 23, Sheffield Wednesday fans would like to raise funds for the Bradley Lowery Foundation to show our support and stand up against this type of behaviour in football."

Bradley's legacy will live on forever, while the Bradley Lowery Foundation continue to do incredible work in the community.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, EFL Championship