A Scottish teenager who posted a vile tweet about Lurgan lad Jay Beatty has appeared at court.
Declan Donnelly, 18, admitted posting a “grossly offensive, indecent and obscene” message about schoolboy Jay, who has Downs Syndrome, on August 30.
Donnelly, of Nicol Street in Rawyards, Airdrie pleaded guilty to a charge of a hate crime by being prejudiced and offensive against disability.
Defence lawyer Paul Belardo told Airdrie Sheriff Court that Donnelly was due to go to trial last week but was now prepared to change his plea and admit his guilt.
Donnelly was asked by Sheriff Petra Collins if he admitted sending the message, to which he quietly replied “yes”.
Donnelly came in for an avalanche of criticism on social media after posting the heartless message from his now-deleted Twitter account with the user name @d_donnelly07.
One user described his tweet as “disgusting” while another said that they “hope he gets prosecuted for this”.
Earlier this month a 14-year-old boy who also targeted Jay, 12, on social media was overcome with remorse after meeting the Lurgan lad.
Jay’s dad Martin said: “When he saw Jay, and how tiny he is, it was very powerful.
“He was emotional. I think it really hit home what he had done and that Jay was just a wee boy who loves football and had done nothing wrong.”
Community Safety Glasgow staff worked with this teenager to open his eyes to the hurt and distress he had caused.
And after completing the programme he asked to meet the Beatty family to apologise in person.
Jay is an official ambassador of the Celtic FC foundation charity and first made the headlines in 2014 when Georgios Samaras plucked him from the crowd to celebrate winning the league title.
He also won the Scottish Premiership Goal of the Month award after netting at half time of a league game at Parkhead last year.
Donnelly is due to be sentenced on March 16 after Sheriff Collins called for a full criminal justice social work report. Bail was continued.