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Southampton striker Billy Sharp victim of vile abuse on Twitter from Doncaster fan
INVESTIGATIONS have been launched into sickening abuse sent to Saints striker Billy Sharp goading him over the heartbreaking death of his baby son.
The footballer was subjected to a barrage of messages over the Internet talking about the death of his two-day- old child last year.
Saints fans and supporters of other clubs have condemned the person behind the abuse, calling for police to take action.
The footballer and girlfriend Jade were hit by tragedy last October when their son, Luey Jacob, died through complications caused by gastroschisis – a herniatype birth defect.
Mr Sharp was playing for Doncaster Rovers at the time, and emotionally dedicated a goal to his child just three days later, revealing a T-shirt with the message “That’s for you son”.
The 26-year-old and Jade have since set up a charity, the Luey Jacob Sharp Foundation, which is aimed at supporting families affected by gastroschisis, and raising awareness of the condition.
Mr Sharp signed for Saints at the end of January for around £1.8m, having scored 40 goals in 82 appearances for Doncaster.
Fans were quick to condemn the string of offensive posts made on the social networking site Twitter.
They were posted by a user who called himself Chris Boyd, claiming to be a Doncaster fan, upset that the striker had left the club for Saints.
He posted them just hours after the footballer had played in Saints’ crunch Championship top-of-thetable draw at West Ham.
Mr Sharp yesterday used his personal Twitter account to respond to the comments, which have subsequently been deleted.
The footballer said: “Shallow little boy, hope you’re proud of yourself”.
Saints fans representative Nick Illingsworth called for police action.
He added: “If I was someone from Doncaster I would want them found, and probably want them in the stocks in the town centre.”
Doncaster Rovers have launched an investigation into the abuse, and vowed to take “appropriate action” if the person can be traced.
However it is understood the individual is not a season ticket holder, and not on the club’s database as a regular ticket buyer.
The club said in statement said: “The club will not tolerate the misuse of social media or obscene language in any way.”
Police in Hampshire and South Yorkshire said yesterday they had not received any complaints, but would investigate if anyone reported them.
As well as the possibility the comments could represent harassment, the tweets could fall foul of communications legislation, which says that it is illegal to send anything “indecent or offensive” that is aimed at “causing distress or anxiety” to either the recipient, or anyone else who could read it.