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Tower Hamlets FC player fined after homophobic abuse to Jahmal Howlett-Mundle

"I don't think it's going to deter people in the future from being homophobic,” the victim has said

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Sheppey United FC (pictured: Jahmal Howlett-Mundle)

The semi-professional footballer Ayokunle Odedoyin of Tower Hamlets FC has been fined for homophobic abuse aimed at Sheppey United’s Jahmal Howlett-Mundle during a match in June. 

Following a trial in June where he was found guilty, on Wednesday (13 July) Odedoyin, 32, was sentenced to a 12-month community order, 120 hours of unpaid work, and was ordered to pay £500 compensation, costs of £620, and a victim surcharge of £95.

Speaking to the BBCHowlett-Mundle said: “I don’t think justice has been done. I don’t think it’s going to deter people in the future from being homophobic.”

He added: ”With short sentences like this how are people supposed to understand that there’s a lot of pain and suffering that does happen to people like myself and other active LGBTQ+ football players.”

The incident occurred during a match last August, which resulted in a 4-1 for Sheppey United. But during the game, Odedoyin had tackled Howlett-Mundle and then verbally abused him, according to the BBC. 

Howlett-Mundle, who came out as bisexual last year, addressed the abuse after the match online. 

He tweeted: “Real shame that a [Tower Hamlets Football Club] player was narrow minded enough to call me a “gay p*ssy” during the game.”

“Comments such as those will not get under my skin or throw me off my game, and I do understand that unfortunately it will happen again,” his tweet continued.

Tower Hamlets FC said they would investigate.

Howlett-Mundle, a full-time primary school teacher, came out publicly a month before the homophobic incident took place.

Following Odedoyin’s trial in June, Howlett-Mundle tweeted that he was “pleased” with the conviction, adding that “there’s no space in football for homophobia”.

Rebecca Helliwell from the Crown Prosecution Service also released a statement in June, noting: “Calling out and prosecuting homophobic language is vital to stamping out hate crime.”

“These vile slurs have no place on our football pitches or society.”

Helliwell added: “I hope this conviction encourages more victims to come forward and report such hateful crimes in the knowledge that we will take their concerns seriously and prosecute perpetrators.”

The Attitude July/August issue is out now.