THE SENTENCING of two Irish men involved in an incident when former Manchester United star Andy Cole was racially abused has been postponed.
Dubliners Lee Patrick Byrne, 28 and Gregory Horan, 26, were arrested as they arrived in Manchester Airport on December 29 last year.
Police said they were called to the scene following reports that a man had been subject to racial abuse and two drunken passengers would not co-operate with cabin staff.
In a witness statement read out in court, Mr Cole spoke of his “disgust” at the abuse he suffered on the Aer Lingus flight as he returned to Britain from Dublin.
“I was targeted because of the colour of my skin and I felt terrible afterwards. I was harassed by both of these males throughout the flight,” the 42-year-old former England striker said.
“I was disgusted by their language and by one of the individuals racially abusing me. I was shocked to see these two males were allowed to fly despite being clearly intoxicated.”
Mr Cole, who is involved with the Football Association’s anti-racism Kick It Out campaign, added: “I will not tolerate this abuse and hope we see a change so the next generation, including my children, will not have to go through this.”
Taking to Twitter after news of the incident broke, he thanked his followers, publishing a message saying: “Can I just say thank you for the tweets and the support.”
Mr Byrne, of Corduff Court, Blanchardstown, pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence at Trafford Magistrate’s Court in January and admitted he had been drunk on an aircraft.
Mr Horan, of Sycamore View, Castleknock, also admitted being drunk on an aircraft.
Both men were due to be sentenced on Monday at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court.
But the sentencing has now been postponed until April 15.