FORMER England captain John Terry yesterday said he had been “stitched up right and proper” by allegations of racial abuse, as he took to the witness box for the first time in his high-profile criminal trial.
Terry denied he had “snapped” and called Anton Ferdinand a “f****** black c***” in response to being taunted by the QPR footballer over an alleged extra-marital affair with a team-mate’s ex-partner.
The Chelsea skipper, 31, told the court that he did not react to the jibes during a Premier League defeat to Rangers at Loftus Road on 23 October last year. Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC sarcastically retorted: “Of course you didn’t. You’ve been stitched up right and proper, haven’t you?” “Yes,” Terry replied.
Mr Penny later added: “You’re not a racist, are you? But you used racist language because you snapped and it was instinctive. You were fed up with people abusing you over the issue with your wife.”
Terry said: “I didn’t snap. It was almost two years on and I had heard it a million times before. If I was going to snap, I would have snapped long before.”
Terry, whose cross-examination by the prosecution will continue this morning, denies committing a racially aggravated public order offence.
If he is found guilty he faces a maximum fine of £2,500 but no custodial sentence. The trial is expected to conclude on Friday.
The centre-back admits uttering the words “black c***” but says he only did so as part of a question to Ferdinand, having thought he was being accused of using that expression during their spat.
Penny asked why Terry had repeated the phrase, whether inquisitively or ironically, rather than just responding to the perceived accusation of racial abuse with a “straightforward ‘what?’”.
Terry answered: “He was accusing me of calling him a black c***. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I was shocked and angry; I couldn’t control my emotions.”
Shortly after the match Terry asked a QPR steward to summon Ferdinand for talks in the dressing room, the court heard. Terry said he twice asked if Ferdinand had accused him of racist abuse, to which he said Ferdinand replied: “Nah, nah, nah”. The pair shook hands before parting, the court heard. Ferdinand later made statements to the police regarding the allegations.
Earlier, Terry’s barrister George Carter-Stephenson QC failed in an attempt to have the case thrown out on the grounds of insufficient evidence. The trial continues.