Footballer John Terry 'goaded before race insult'

Video report by ITV News' Juliet Bremner

A court heard today how footballer John Terry was goaded about an alleged affair before throwing a racist insult at Anton Ferdinand.

The 31-year-old Chelsea defender allegedly called Ferdinand, who plays for Queens Park Rangers, a "f###### black c###", the court was told.

Terry is accused of a racially aggravated public order offence during a Premier League match on October 23 last year, which was broadcast to millions of people.

The court heard that Terry maintains he was only sarcastically repeating words that Ferdinand wrongly thought he had used.

Opening the prosecution today, Duncan Penny said:

"The Crown alleges that the words he used demonstrated hostility based on Mr Ferdinand's membership or presumed membership of a racial group."

The court heard that Terry maintains he was only sarcastically repeating words that Ferdinand wrongly thought he had used.

Chelsea's John Terry applauds fans at the final whistle. Credit: Nick Potts/PA Archive

Mr Penny said: "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 was allowed out of the dock into the well of the court to view footage of the alleged insult.

Terry said in a statement to the Football Association five days after the incident that he and Ferdinand had been exchanging "verbals" and he had made a gesture to imply Mr Ferdinand had bad breath.

He said: "We're still having a, sort of, ding-dong, if you like. That's when, as I said before, he said 'black c###'.

"Now clearly, as I said before, I don't think he's calling me a black c###, but at the same time I take quite a strong offence."

Anton Ferdinand pictured during the QPR v Chelsea clash at Loftus Road in October 2011 Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Immediately after the match, Ferdinand did not think that Terry had used racist words, the court heard.

He said: "It's handbags innit - it's what happens on the pitch", and the two shook hands.

But later, Ferdinand's girlfriend showed him footage posted on YouTube, and he believed Terry had used the racist insult.

An artist's impression of John Terry and Anton Ferdinand in court today
An artist's impression of John Terry and Anton Ferdinand in court today Credit: ITV News

A lip reader was brought into court today and asked to assess the footage of the match. Susan Whitewood studied clips of the heated exchange between Terry and Ferdinand and confirmed some of the language used by both men.

Asked to explain what Terry said on the footage, she said: "The first words are 'Yeah, I,' then a word I couldn't get, I didn't get it because of the quickness.

"There was an obstruction for a moment then he says f###### black c###. Then a slight pause then, f###### k#######."

Appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, Terry sat in the dock wearing a light grey suit, white shirt and pink tie.

Terry denies the charge.