Jermain Defoe Expresses Outrage Over Sheffield Wednesday Fan Mocking Bradley Lowery's Passing

Jermain Defoe expressed deep dismay and sorrow over a Sheffield Wednesday supporter who ridiculed the memory of Sunderland mascot Bradley Lowery. Dale Houghton, aged 31, openly acknowledged committing a public order offense related to this incident before Sheffield magistrates on Monday.

Ex-Sunderland striker Defoe formed a close bond with Bradley, who he called his "best mate", before his death from cancer in 2017.

Bradley, of Blackhall Colliery, County Durham, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma - a rare type of cancer - when he was 18 months old.

Defoe said he was "one of the most inspirational children this world has ever seen, and he will never stop inspiring us".

Houghton, from Rotherham, was charged after pictures circulated on X, formerly Twitter, showing two men laughing at Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on Friday, as the defendant held up a photo of Bradley on his phone.

"I'm appalled and saddened by the actions of the individual in question," Defoe told Mail Online after Houghton appeared in court.

He added: "My thoughts at this time go out to [Bradley's parents] Gemma and Carl, who shouldn't have to deal with incidents like this, but rather be praised for the amazing work they are doing with the Bradley Lowery Foundation in their son's memory.

Jermain Defoe Expresses Outrage Over Sheffield Wednesday Fan Mocking Bradley Lowery's Passing

"I urge the public to stand behind the family and continue to support the Foundation and its projects."

More than £22,500 has been donated to an appeal set up by Sheffield Wednesday fans after Friday's match to raise money for the charity.

Leanne Wood, from Sheffield Wednesday Women's Supporters' Group, said she set up the fundraising page in response to being "absolutely disgusted" by Houghton's actions.

Bradley's mother has said the support was "overwhelming" and "incredible".

She characterized Houghton's actions as "inexcusable" and "extremely distressing" for the family. Houghton is scheduled to receive his sentencing on November 17, potentially leading to a prison term.

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