‘It was like a dagger to the heart’: Mother of tragic Bradley Lowery slams ‘low life’ Dale Houghton who goaded Sunderland fans with her son’s picture using his memory in a ‘negative, awful light’
- READ MORE: Jermain Defoe slams football yob for mocking young cancer victim
The mum of tragic young football fan Bradley Lowery said seeing the actions of the ‘low life’ who mocked him ‘was like a dagger to the heart’.
Gemma Lowery said she could not believe that Sheffield Wednesday fan Dale Houghton had used Bradley’s image in a ‘negative, awful light’.
Houghton, 31, faces a possible jail sentence after admitting causing harassment, alarm or distress by holding up a picture of cancer victim Bradley while laughing towards Sunderland supporters along with another Wednesday fan.
It horrified Gemma and Carl, the parents of Bradley, who died in 2017 from neuroblastoma, with the 40-year-old mum describing it as ‘unforgivable’.
Gemma told The Mirror that group chat messages she had seen suggested Houghton and another Sheffield fan showed ‘no remorse’ following the horrific stunt.
Gemma Lowery said she could not believe that Sheffield Wednesday fan Dale Houghton had used Bradley’s image in a ‘negative, awful light.’
The actions of Dale Houghton (left) who mocked the death of mascot Bradley Lowery during a match against his favourite team were ‘utterly deplorable’, a judge has said
‘They said that Bradley shouldn’t have got special treatment and that’s when it really, really hit us. It was like a dagger to my heart and I got really really upset about that.
‘What they did was intentional and they had no remorse for doing it. That’s when I thought “actually you are not very nice people and you deserve to be punished”.’
Gemma earlier told MailOnline of her ordeal: ‘It has been really upsetting for me and my husband.
‘We don’t ever want to see Bradley’s image portrayed in such a negative, awful light. It has really hit us hard.’
However, Gemma said she and Carl had been amazed by the response of Sheffield Wednesday supporters who started a fund raising appeal to make amends for the sickening act.
She said: ‘Once again the football community came together and came to Bradley’s defence. The support we have had has been overwhelming, it has been absolutely incredible.
‘We just want to thank them for all the support they have given us, it has really helped us as a family.
‘They started a fundraising campaign which has raised over £15,000 now to show that there is still good in football, which is incredible.
‘We are building a holiday home at the moment for sick children to be able to go and make memories and every penny of that money will go towards building that holiday home.’
Gemma branded Houghton’s behaviour ‘unforgivable’ in an impact statement read to Sheffield magistrates when he appeared before them today.
She said: ‘This image made me feel so many emotions. I find it hard to put into words.
The incident horrified Gemma and Carl, the parents of Bradley, who died in 2017 from neuroblastoma
‘It is not just disrespectful to Bradley but also to other people who are going through the emotional trauma of dealing with cancer.
‘This image portrays negatively. I feel upset that these two men used this image to get a reaction from Sunderland fans. It was unforgivable. I have nothing but loving memories of Bradley.’
At the weekend she branded the Wednesday fans ‘low lives’ but urged football fans to allow the police to do their jobs.
District Judge James Gould condemned Houghton’s ‘utterly deplorable’ actions and warned all sentence options were open, including jail.
The court heard Houghton, a window fitter, had lost his job as a result of his actions and was facing a lengthy ban from attending football matches.
Prosecutor Jade Short told the court that Houghton had caused a ‘huge public revulsion’ and had clearly found it ‘enjoyable banter’ as he was smiling throughout.
Jermain Defoe has said he was ‘appalled’ by the sick football yob who is facing jail for mocking cancer victim Bradley Lowery after he today admitted he was high on cocaine
She added that Houghton, who can also expect a lengthy football banning order, had made a ‘full and frank admission’ to police after his arrest.
Gemma and Carl say they are anxious to put Houghton’s sickening taunt behind them to concentrate on raising funds for Brad’s Pad, a five bedroom home near Scarborough, North Yorks, which will be used by seriously ill children.
The County Durham couple hope that it will be finished and ready for its first guests next year.
Gemma said: ‘We have started the build already, so it is already up and running, it is on its way.
‘It will be a place for families to be able to go free of charge to make special memories and put smiles back on their faces because that is what Bradley would have wanted.’
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