Jury in trial of Wolves fan accused of racially abusing Rio Ferdinand discharged

The jury in the trial of a Wolverhampton Wanderers’ football fan accused of racially abusing former England defender Rio Ferdinand, has been discharged by a judge for legal reasons.

Jamie Arnold, 32, of Norton Bridge, near Stone, Staffordshire, had been accused of causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress to Mr Ferdinand.

The court heard on Monday he used "threatening, abusive or insulting" words or behaviour towards him at the Wolverhampton Wanderers match against Manchester United at Molineux on May 23 last year.

During the prosecution’s opening at Wolverhampton Crown Court, footage was played to jurors, allegedly showing him making a racist gesture, although Arnold had denied any wrong-doing.

Mr Ferdinand, working at the game as a television pundit for BT Sport, gave evidence from the witness box on Monday, saying although he noted the man’s “more aggressive body language”, he did not see a monkey gesture or hear any abuse.

Arnold has denied any wrong-doing.

Judge Simon Ward discharged the jury part-way through second day of the trial, on Tuesday.

A retrial of Arnold, of Norton Bridge, near Stone, Staffordshire, is expected to be held at the same court in due course, although a date has yet to be fixed.