John Terry hurled racist abuse after being goaded over ‘affair’, court told
FOOTBALLER John Terry was goaded about an alleged affair before hurling a racist insult at Anton Ferdinand, a court heard yesterday.
Chelsea and England defender Terry, 31, is accused of calling Ferdinand a “f****** black c***” during an English Premier League match last year.
Appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Terry sat in the dock wearing a light grey suit, white shirt and pink tie.
The court heard that Terry told Queens Park Rangers player Ferdinand to “f*** off” and also called him a “f****** knobhead” as the pair exchanged insults.
Opening for the prosecution, Duncan Penny said: “The Crown alleges that the defendant, most probably in response to physical gestures being made by Mr Ferdinand, which the defendant understood to refer to the well-publicised allegation of an extramarital affair with a team-mate’s wife, shouted at Mr Ferdinand.
“The Crown’s case is that the words were abusive and insulting in a straightforward sense and that the term ‘f****** black c***’ was uttered as an abusive insult, demonstrating hostility based on Mr Ferdinand’s membership of a racial group.”
Terry is accused of a racially aggravated public order offence, which he denies. He maintains he was only sarcastically repeating words that Ferdinand wrongly thought he had used.
Chelsea were down to nine men in the clash at Loftus Road last October, when Ferdinand and Terry began trading insults over a penalty claim, the court heard.
Giving evidence yesterday, Ferdinand said: “He called me a c*** and I called him a c*** back and he gave me a gesture as if to say my breath smelled.
“I said to him, ‘How can you call me a c***? You shagged your team-mate’s missus, you’re a c***’.”
This was a reference to Terry’s alleged affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the former girlfriend of Wayne Bridge.
Ferdinand jogged down the pitch making a fist gesture to imply sex, he told the court.
At first, Ferdinand did not think any racist insult had been used. He shook hands with Terry and accepted that their clash was “handbags” and “banter”. But after the match, his then-girlfriend showed him a clip of their exchange posted on YouTube, and he believed Terry had used the racist obscenity.
Ferdinand told the court that if he had realised at the time, he would have told officials.
He said: “I would have been obviously very hurt … I probably would have let the officials know what happened and dealt with it after the game.
“When someone brings your colour into it, it takes it to another level and it’s very hurtful.”
George Carter-Stephenson, QC, for Terry, claimed Ferdinand’s agent, Justin Rigby, said there was a fear that if no further action was taken, black footballers would see it as “a white man’s word against a black man’s word”.
He alleged Ferdinand only decided to go to the police when Mr Rigby persuaded him to, but the QPR player denied this.
The case is being heard by Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle, and there is no jury.
Both television clips and unbroadcast footage of the incident, which would normally be used for training purposes, were shown to the court.
In a statement made to police last November, Terry said he was offended by the accusation that he had used racist language.
He said his words to the other player were meant to make it clear that he had not used a racist insult, and that Ferdinand was a “knobhead” for thinking that he had.
The statement read: “Whilst footballers are used to industrial language, using racist terms is completely unacceptable whatever [the] situation.
“I was completely taken aback by this remark as I have never been accused of something like that and I did not take his remark lightly at all, and took strong offence to his suggestion.”
The trial continues today.
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