Sidcup builder Stuart Gilroy admits racist phone rants at Greenwich-born footballer Efe Sodje

This Is Local London: Stuart Gilroy has admitted leaving racist messages while drunk. Stuart Gilroy has admitted leaving racist messages while drunk.

A BUILDER from Sidcup has admitted leaving racially abusive messages on a Greenwich-born footballer’s answer phone while drunk.

Stuart Gilroy, 29, got hold of Macclesfield Town player and assistant manager Efe Sodje’s mobile number through a friend-of-a-friend.

He then left three separate messages on July 21 last year at 1.48am, 2.16am and 2.17am while onlookers could be heard sniggering in the background.

Sodje, well known throughout his 20-year career for wearing a bandana featuring the words ‘Against All Odds’, alerted Greater Manchester Police after receiving the calls from a withheld number.

Bromley Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday how Gilroy, of Stanhope Road, Sidcup, repeatedly swore in the messages which contained a string of racist abuse aimed at Sodje.

Sodje, who was playing for Bury at the time of the abuse, has seen brothers Sam, Akpo and Steve arrested as part of a police investigation into players accepting bribes to get themselves booked or sent off.

In one of the messages Gilroy spewed he was going to “cut your throat and cut your legs off” and “cut right through your ribs if you play for Bury one more time”.

He also said “Your brother is going to get stabbed.”

In a statement read to the court the former Nigerian international, who played for his country against England at the 2002 World Cup, said: “No person has the right to racially abuse me and threaten me or my family in this way.

“These messages have left me worried for my safety and worried for the safety of my family.”

In a statement read by his defence solicitor, Gilroy said he did not leave the messages intending to cause fear and was ashamed and embarrassed at the incident which happened while he was drunk.

He pleaded guilty under the Telecommunications Act to three charges of leaving voicemail messages of a grievously offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing character.

He will be sentenced later this month.

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