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  1. ITV Report

John Terry not guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

Video report by Juliet Bremner

Chelsea and England defender John Terry has been cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

Terry was acquitted of calling Ferdinand a "f****** black c***" during a Premier League Game on October 23 last year.

Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle cleared the 31-year-old of a racially aggravated public order offence at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Giving his verdict Mr Riddle said the case was not about "whether Mr Terry is a racist in the broadest sense of the word". He said he had heard a great deal of evidence to show that he is not.

It is understandable why Mr Terry wants to make this point, his reputation is at stake.

– Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle

Terry was taken to court because prosecutors took the view that the words used were not just banter, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

The very serious allegation at the heart of this case was one of racial abuse. It was our view that this was not “banter” on the football pitch and that the allegation should be judged by a court.

The Chief Magistrate agreed that Mr Terry had a case to answer, but having heard all of the evidence he acquitted Mr Terry of a racially aggravated offence.

That is justice being done and we respect the Chief Magistrate’s decision.

– Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London

Terry left the court within minutes of the verdict and was escorted past the media scrum.

He made no comment but was cheered by a small group of Chelsea supporters as he was driven away.

John Terry thanked his family and friends "for their support" in his solicitor's statement:

The court has today acquitted John Terry of all charges. He has consistently explained his position to the FA, to the police and to the Court.

He did not racially abuse Mr Ferdinand and the Court has accepted this. John would like to thank his legal team for their hard work and his family, friends and Chelsea Football Club for their support.

The Football Association reacted to the verdict by saying it had "noted the decision in the John Terry case" and will "now seek to conclude its own inquiries."

Leaving court, Ferdinand's parents, Julian Ferdinand and Janice Lavender, who attended every day of the trial, declined to comment.

Mr Ferdinand said: "I have nothing to say to you at all."

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