England news January 14, 2013

Man found guilty of racism at ODI

A man has been fined after racially abusing three young spectators during the ODI between England and South Africa at West End on August 28.

John Guinelly, a 44-year-old from Portsmouth, was ordered to pay each victim £500 by Southampton Magistrates' Court, with his actions towards the children described by magistrates as "threatening and abusive".

Hampshire Police launched an investigation after the incident when the three children, aged 11, 13 and 14, returned to their seats having purchased food during the match only to find that Guinelly and two other men had taken their places.

Guinelly first pretended he could not understand the children - the court heard he said "are they talking Dutch or something?" - and then used racist phrases when stewards asked him to move. Later, as Guinelly was being spoken to by stewards and police, he spotted one of the children and delivered another racist insult.

While Guinelly did not attend court, he send a letter stating that he would plead guilty to racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress. He claimed his comments were "friendly banter". He was also ordered to pay £65 court costs.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo