John Terry described in excruciating detail yesterday the precise nature of the sexual insults about his mother that are directed at him during games by rival supporters, in another extraordinary day in his trial on a racial abuse charge.
The Chelsea captain, in questioning by his own defence counsel, recounted to Westminster magistrates' court the words that he said were first sung by Liverpool supporters about his mother, Sue, which relate to a relationship she had with a man from the city. It came on the same day that his team-mate Ashley Cole gave evidence in support of Terry's story that he did not racially abuse Anton Ferdinand during a game last season.
Terry admits that he said the words "f****** black c***" during the Premier League game between Queen's Park Rangers and Chelsea on 23 October last year, but says he did so only in the act of sarcastically repeating back Ferdinand's accusation that he, Terry, had been racially abusive. The prosecution claim that Terry used the words as a racial insult in reaction to being goaded about an alleged affair with the former girlfriend of his erstwhile Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge. Ferdinand has given evidence saying that he made no such complaint to Terry on the pitch.
Cole, 31, who was, he said, just "a car's length away" from Terry when the alleged incident between the two men took place, said that he "could make out" Ferdinand saying "Bridgey" and "black" and "c***" in the eight- second episode that has formed the basis of the whole case.
Cole admitted that he could not hear either man during the confrontation, and that he had no expertise in lip-reading. He also said he did not think the case should have been brought to court. "I don't think we should be sitting here," he said.
Cole said: "If I repeated something I thought had been said it's totally different than [sic] saying it [without prompting]." The prosecutor Duncan Penny replied: "But if he [Terry] had said f****** black c***' [as an insult]?" Cole said: "I don't think racial abuse should be tolerated."
Earlier in the day, Terry had been asked by his defence counsel, George Carter-Stephenson QC, to explain to the court the terms of the abuse he suffered from fans. "I'm going to ask you about one piece of evidence that might be difficult," he said. "I know this may not be easy, the comments in relation to your mother, what's the wording and phraseology that goes with it?"
Terry replied: "My mum dated a guy from Liverpool for a while and the Liverpool fans made up a song that my mum loves Scouse c**k.'"
In further questions Terry said that he had become "immune" to the abuse, having heard it "thousands of times". He said that he had only been sent off four times in his career and always for bad tackles rather than reacting to provocation. Under questioning from the Crown, Terry was asked whether he had in fact said to Ferdinand "I have had yours, you black c***" – an alleged taunt about Ferdinand's girlfriend or partner. "It's the oldest insult in the book," said Penny, "You know, 'I've had yours, how's your wife and my kids?' that sort of thing?'"
Terry said the episode in which he was alleged to have had an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the former partner of Bridge, had changed attitudes towards him. "I have had this very public incident in my life and since then I have had an awful lot [of abuse]."
Penny said: "Did you not say 'And yours, you f****** black c***,' as in 'I have shagged your missus as well'? ... You lost it because you had enough of him and he was humiliating you in public." Terry denied it was the case.
Terry told the court that he had tried to contact the QPR defender's brother Rio, with whom Terry played for England, in order to settle the matter. "I did call Rio," Terry said, "but he wouldn't take my call."
In the afternoon, the court was read a statement by Terry's former manager Jose Mourinho. "During my proud and personal relationship with John Terry I have never once witnessed any demonstration of racism or racially abusive behaviour," Mourinho said.
Former Chelsea No 2 Ray Wilkins and chairman Bruce Buck appeared as character witnesses for Terry. There was a statement signed by 17 members of the Chelsea first-team squad stating that Terry was "not a racist". Ryan Bertrand, the Chelsea defender, submitted an individual statement supporting Terry. Terry denies the charges. The case continues.