Footballer John Terry was goaded about an alleged affair before throwing a racist insult at Anton Ferdinand, a court has heard.
Chelsea and England defender Terry, 31, is accused of calling Ferdinand a “fucking black c**t” during a Premier League match last year.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday heard that Terry told Queens Park Rangers player Ferdinand to “fuck off” and called him a “fucking knobhead” as the pair exchanged insults.
Duncan Penny, prosecuting, 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.
“The crown’s case is that the words were abusive and insulting in a straightforward sense and that the term ‘fucking black c**t’ was uttered as an abusive insult demonstrating hostility based on Mr Ferdinand’s membership of a racial group.”
Terry maintains he was only sarcastically repeating words that 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 in the clash at Loftus Road, when Ferdinand and Terry began trading insults over a penalty claim, the court heard.
Giving evidence today, Ferdinand said: “He called me a c**t and I called him a c**t 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**t? You shagged your team-mate’s missus, you’re a c**t’.”
This was a reference to Terry’s alleged affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Perroncel.
Ferdinand jogged down the pitch making a fist gesture to imply sex, he told the court.
At first, Queens Park Rangers centre-half 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.
“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.”
Terry met with Ferdinand after the match to ask what had happened.
“Mr Terry said, ‘Do you think I racially abused you?’ I was like, ‘No’,” 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, counsel 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 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, 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 trial, expected to last five days, continues today.
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