Neal Maupay online abuse: What was said to Albion star, how abuser was tracked to Singapore and when is sentencing?
Neal Maupay welcomed a guilty verdict after a man in Singapore was found guilty of sending serious online abuse to the Albion striker.
Derek Ng De Ren, 19, was convicted of crimes relating to harassment following an investigation and formal criminal complaints filed by the Premier League last August. He will be sentenced on 7 July.
The threatening and abusive messages received by the player via Instagram were reported to the Premier League through its online abuse reporting system.
Ng De Ren started the abuse after Maupay tackled Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno during a Premier League match in June last year.
Maupay, 24, went on to score the winning goal, causing Arsenal to lose 2-1. Leno had to be taken off the pitch after suffering a serious knee injury.
Ng used anonymous accounts on Instagram to send four threatening messages to Maupay over eight days, threatening to kill him and his family.
The Premier League’s legal team undertook a detailed investigation to successfully identify and locate the offender. The League worked with Neal, the club and local authorities in Singapore to pursue legal action against the defendant, resulting in his prosecution and conviction.
“The vile and toxic abuse of which I was on the receiving end is a daily occurrence for many professional athletes and public figures,” Maupay said.
“I hope this goes someway to showing those online trolls that it is totally unacceptable and that the authorities are prepared to take the necessary action.
“I would like to thank the club and Premier League for the support they showed me in this matter, and the professionalism in dealing with it, as well as the police and courts in Singapore.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “The online abuse Neal received was appalling and nobody should have to deal with such threatening messages.
“We are committed to supporting players, managers and their families and will continue to work with relevant authorities to fight online hate. As this case shows, we take each report seriously and will do everything we can to identify and investigate offenders and pursue legal action, wherever in the world they may be.
“This outcome recognises the severity of the offence, and we hope it will send a strong message of deterrence by demonstrating there are serious real-life consequences for those who engage in online abuse.”
"In June 2020, the Premier League launched a dedicated online abuse reporting system, which enables players, managers and their families to directly report abusive messages received via social media platforms.
“Each case will be reviewed, reported to the relevant social media company, investigated and legal action taken where appropriate.”
Albion chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber said: “The message is clear. Abuse, trolling and online hate of any nature won't be tolerated; social media needs to be a safe and secure platform for all to enjoy.
"On our own channels, users will be banned, reported to the platform owners and reported to the police where they have broken the law. We fully expect other social media platforms to follow the same zero tolerance policy.
"We simply will not stand for this abuse. The social media giants must do more, but until they do, we are prepared to play our part by working with the Premier League and other authorities to identify and root out these individuals."