Newcastle United fan denies public order offence over alleged Munich air disaster comments

James Blake, of North Shields, has denied a public order offence for alleged comments made about the Munich air disaster. Credit: PA

A football fan has denied a public order offence over allegedly making offensive comments about the Munich air disaster.

James Blake, of North Shields, was arrested after a video circulated online following Newcastle United’s win over Manchester City in the Carabao Cup last month, appearing to show someone mocking the disaster.

The 41-year-old was due to appear at Newcastle Magistrates Court charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

But District Judge Paul Currer, sitting in Newcastle, was told that Blake had attended North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, where he denied the offence.

Blake was bailed and is now due to appear at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on 4 January for trial.

Judge Currer said there was nothing “sinister” in the mix-up between courts.

At the time of the alleged offence, a Newcastle United spokesperson said: "Tragedy-related chanting and gesturing is completely unacceptable and Newcastle United is committed to working with authorities and the wider football community to eradicate it."

Eight Manchester United players were among the 23 people who died in the Munich plane crash in February 1958.

Among the survivors was Ashington-born World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton, who died over the weekend aged 86.

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