THE former president of Whitehawk Football Club has been jailed after racially abusing a pregnant woman in a pub.

Chris Gargan, 55, verbally abused the 24-year-old, whose family come from Jamaica, at the Fiveways pub in Ditchling Road, Brighton.

He came up behind the woman, who he did not know, as she was seated with her partner and family and said: “They don’t let ******* in here.”

His shocked victim, who was eight months pregnant, reported the incident to police that evening and Gargan was identified from CCTV and later arrested.

Gargan, of Malthouse Lane, Hurstpierpoint, was jailed for four months at Brighton Crown Court yesterday. He denied the offence.

Sentencing him, Judge Anthony Niblett told Gargan the word he used last April was “totally abhorrent” and “had no place in today’s society”.

He also said Gargan’s standing in society had “made him think he was above the law”.

Investigating officer PC Chris Clarke said: “Gargan denied the offence throughout and it was only the steadfast evidence of the victim and family, together with CCTV from the pub, that enabled justice to be done.

“This sentence sends out a clear signal that we will take a robust approach to those who target individuals based on their disability, gender identity, race, religion or sexual orientation.”

Last night, a spokesman for Gargan’s family said he would be appealing against the conviction.

According to official sentencing guidelines, Gargan’s crime – causing racially aggravated alarm and harassment and distress – can be dealt with either at magistrates’ court, where a fine or jail term of up to six months can be imposed, or at crown court where the maximum tariff is two years’ jail.

Gargan elected to be tried by a jury at crown court who unanimously decided he was guilty and after reading out his previous convictions, Judge Niblett sent the successful businessman to jail.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said the offence consisted solely of the one sentence spoken by Gargan.

While “limited duration” is listed as a mitigating factor in sentencing guidelines, an offence causing “particular distress” should be sentenced more harshly.

Gargan is the managing director of Utilec Properties, based at Patcham Place in London Road, Brighton.

Whitehawk FC said last night: “In the light of recent media reports Whitehawk Football Club have taken steps and can confirm that Christopher Gargan is no longer associated with the club in any capacity with immediate effect.”