FA charges referee over Twitter post to daughter of Hillsborough victim
• Craig Langton charged with improper conduct over tweet • Post was sent to Charlotte Hennessy, whose father Jimmy died in disaster • Hillsborough inquest: Ex-police chief denies part in ‘black propaganda’
Charlotte Hennessy’s father Jimmy was among the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989.
The Football Association has charged a referee with improper conduct for an allegedly derogatory and offensive tweet he posted last month about the Hillsborough disaster and Liverpudlians. Craig Langton, a firefighter in Nottingham and qualified referee, posted the tweet to Charlotte Hennessy whose father, Jimmy, was one of the 96 supporters killed at the Hillsborough FA Cup semi-final in 1989.
She complained to the FA that Langton’s tweet was abusive and insulting, and that as a referee he is a role model and was sending an “absolutely appalling” message. Charlotte Hennessy was six when her father died.
“His death has absolutely devastated my life,” she told the FA in her complaint. “I attend the [new] inquests [into the disaster] every week and am struggling to come to terms with all of this new evidence. I have done absolutely nothing to justify such disgusting comments.”
The FA confirmed on Thursday that Langton, who was listed as referee for an FA Cup extra preliminary round this season, had been charged with improper conduct under its disciplinary rules, and gave no further details. John Buckley, chief fire officer of Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service, has written to Hennessy, describing Langton’s tweet as “disappointing” and informing her it is under internal investigation. She told the Guardian she did not want Langton’s livelihood as a firefighter to suffer but wanted an apology from him and for the FA to take action.
“The semi-final at Hillsborough at which my Dad died was the FA’s match, and the FA is an ‘interested party’ at the inquests,” she said. “So it is doubly important for the FA to take a lead in showing that abuse of Hillsborough and bereaved families has to stop.”
Langton’s local Fire Brigades Union (FBU) posted on its Facebook page last month a statement from him which said: “I wish to issue an unreserved public apology. My tweet lacked thought or consideration for those who have been affected by Hillsborough.”
The post said the statement would be passed to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and to Hennessy but she said she has never received it, nor seen that Facebook page. Langton has not commented publicly since making that apology via the FBU.