Lucas Cumiskey, PA
A football fan has been found not guilty of racially abusing ITV pundit Ashley Cole during an FA Cup match.
Lee Oscroft (25), from Kingshill Road, Swindon, was charged with the racially aggravated harassment of former England left back Mr Cole.
Oscroft, wore a black blazer and white open collar shirt and denied calling Mr Cole the “n-word”, which he said was “not a word in my vocabulary”, before he was found not guilty at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
The charge related to an incident during Swindon Town’s FA Cup clash with Manchester City on January 7th, 2022, for which former Arsenal and Chelsea player Mr Cole was part of ITV’s broadcasting team.
On Monday, he admitted he joined some supporters in shouting abuse at Mr Cole, who was giving punditry on the pitch after the match – but stressed he neither said nor heard anything racist.
Oscroft waved his wallet at the player, called him “Cashley Cole” and swore at him, but did not racially abuse him, he told the court.
He said he followed Arsenal as well as Swindon and abused the pundit because he had left the north London club to play for their west London rivals Chelsea during his playing career.
The prosecution case relied on evidence, given from behind a screen, by paramedic Katherine Ashby who was at the match and claimed she heard Oscroft shout the racist abuse.
The defence called on two match-goers, who both knew the defendant, who were nearby at the time of the incident and denied hearing Oscroft say anything racist.
Manchester City won the third round match 4-1.