UK & World News
Lip-reader: Terry Used Racially Abusive Term
A lip-reader detected Chelsea and England footballer John Terry using a racially abusive term towards fellow player Anton Ferdinand, a court has heard.
Terry, 31, was charged with a racially-aggravated public order offence after allegedly shouting an offensive comment at Ferdinand during a Premier League match on October 23 last year. He denies the accusation.
The comment was allegedly made - and caught on footage that has been shown to the court - to the Queens Park Rangers defender when the two teams met at Loftus Road.
Lip-reader Sue Whiteley told London's Westminster Magistrates' Court she detected Terry saying "you f****** black c***".
She also said she detected Ferdinand saying to Terry: "Oi you, shagging your mate's missus."
Duncan Penny, prosecuting, had earlier told the court Terry's comment followed a taunt from Ferdinand relating to a "well-publicised allegation of an extra-marital affair" involving Terry and the ex-girlfriend of former teammate Wayne Bridge.
The court heard the pair clashed during play, with Terry being knocked to the ground.
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 teammate's missus, you're a c***'."
Mr Penny told the court Terry responded by calling Ferdinand a "f****** knobhead" and a "f****** black c***".
The court heard that Terry accepts he used those words, but that the defence will claim they were part of a "sarcastic exclamation or inquiry to a perceived false accusation".
According to a statement he gave to the Football Association after the match, Terry asked a steward to bring Ferdinand to the Chelsea dressing room after the game.
Terry said in his statement: "It's myself, Anton and Ash (Ashley Cole), nobody else, and I said to Anton, 'was you accusing me of calling you a black c***?'
"That was my exact words to him, and he said 'No, not at all."'
Terry also insisted he had not been offended by the taunts over the alleged affair, saying: "It's not the first time I've heard it, so it's with a pinch of salt a little bit now."
Ferdinand said Ashley Cole, Terry's teammate, had told him aftter the game: "You can't talk to JT like that."
The court also heard Terry and Ferdinand shook hands after the game, accepting their confrontation had been "handbags".
But it was told Ferdinand later decided Terry had racially abused him after his girlfriend showed him footage of the incident on website YouTube that evening.
Under cross examination, Ferdinand said Terry may have been made aware of the existence of the footage before him.
Ferdinand earlier told the court there "would have been an altercation somewhere" if he had heard Terry's comment while on the pitch.
"It's very hurtful when someone brings the colour of your skin into it," he said.
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 statement read: "Whilst footballers are used to industrial language, using racist terms is completely unacceptable whatever (the) situation.
Terry's lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf in February at the court - where his arrival today was met by scores of media from across the world.
The Chelsea captain's trial was delayed until after the Euro 2012 championships after Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle heard that a number of other Chelsea players would not be able to appear as witnesses until the end of the football season.
Terry, who has a net worth of £26m according to this year's Sunday Times Rich List, faces a maximum fine of £2,500 if convicted.
The case is expected to last five days and will be heard by Mr Riddle and no jury.