Dale Houghton: First photo of Sheffield Wednesday fan outside court ahead of Bradley Lowery hearing
Dale Houghton has arrived at court to discover his fate
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The Sheffield Wednesday fan who held up a photo of Sunderland United mascot Bradley Lowery in a sick gesture to taunt rival fans has arrived at court.
Dale Houghton's sentencing hearing at Sheffield Magistrates' Court is due to begin at 2pm.
Houghton is to be sentenced for actions which sickened the football community.
He was captured on a photo laughing as he held a picture of little Bradley aloft, during Sheffield Wednesday’s Championship clash with Sunderland on September 29, 2023.
Dale Houghton, of Black Moor Road, Wickersley, Rotherham, Wickersley, Rotherham, was subsequently charged with a public order offence, in connection with the incident.
He appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court on October 2, 2023, when he entered a guilty plea to an offence of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress by displaying any writing, sign or other visible representation, which is threatening, abusive or insulting.
District Judge James Gould adjourned the case and told Houghton that his actions were 'utterly deplorable' and all sentencing options remain open - including a prison sentence.
During the course of the same hearing, Constance Coombs, defending, said Houghton was "disgusted by what he did".
Ms Coombs said there had been 'mutual goading' between the Wednesday and Sunderland fans and he "took it too far".
Follow our live blog for updates as the sentencing hearing gets underway.