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£235 fine for ripping up Koran

A football fan who ripped up pages from a Koran has admitted a charge of threatening behaviour.

Middlesbrough season ticket holder Mark Stephenson was fined £235 by magistrates, who heard the 25-year- old was "shocked and appalled" at his own actions.

Stephenson, from Shrewsbury, committed the offence last December during a match at Birmingham City.

The £22,000-a-year purchasing manager was among a group of about 20 visiting supporters handed pages of the Koran by a woman who took the Islamic holy book out of her handbag during the match.

Prosecutor Jonathan Purser told Birmingham Magistrates' Court that Stephenson, who has no previous convictions or cautions, was seen with a lighter, pretending to set fire to some of the pages.

The "through and through" fan, who was ordered to pay £105 in costs and a £23 victim surcharge, also told a steward who asked what the book was: "It's the Muslim bible, we hate Muslims." Magistrates opted not to impose a football banning order.

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