Terry 'goaded' over affair before alleged racist remarks, trial told
Footballer John Terry was goaded about an alleged affair before throwing a racist insult at Anton Ferdinand, a court heard yesterday.
Chelsea and England defender Terry (31) is accused of calling Mr Ferdinand a "f****** black c***" during a Premier League match last year.
Appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court yesterday, Mr Terry sat in the dock wearing a light grey suit, white shirt and pink tie.
The court heard that Mr Terry told Mr Ferdinand, a Queens Park Rangers player, to "f*** off" and also called him a "f****** knobhead" as the pair exchanged insults.
Opening the prosecution yesterday, 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 extra-marital affair with a team-mate's wife, shouted at Mr Ferdinand."
He went on: "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."
Mr Terry maintains he was only sarcastically repeating words that Mr Ferdinand wrongly thought he had used.
He is accused of a racially aggravated public order offence, which he denies.
Chelsea were down to nine men at Loftus Road, when Mr Ferdinand and Mr Terry began trading insults over a penalty claim, the court heard.
Giving evidence, Mr 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 Mr Terry's alleged affair with Wayne Bridge's ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Perroncel.
Mr Ferdinand jogged down the pitch making a fist gesture to imply sex, he told the court.
At first the Queens Park Rangers centre-half did not think any racist insult had been used. He shook hands with Mr 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 Mr Terry had used the racist obscenity.
Mr 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 and I probably wouldn't have reacted at the time because, being a professional, you can't do that. 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."
Mr Terry met Mr Ferdinand after the match to ask what had happened.
"Mr Terry said, 'Do you think I racially abused you?'. I was like. 'No'," Mr Ferdinand told the court.
"I said 'No, that never came out of my mouth'. Then Ashley Cole popped his head round and said 'Yeah, didn't you say that to me?' I said 'I didn't say that at all'."
George Carter-Stephenson, for Mr Terry, claimed Mr 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 Mr 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.
TV 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, Mr 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 is expected to last five days.