Friday, 29 January 2010

The story they've finally allowed us to print: John Terry: The full and awful truth

ENGLAND captain John Terry will have his life turned upside down this weekend after an injunction preventing allegations of an affair were lifted today.

Tomorrow I am tasked with appearing on Sky News to debate the morals on press freedom versus privacy at 9.10am. Even when we're talking footballers, it’s not an easy topic.

Terry, who has already seen his father Ted publicly accused of drug peddling and his mother Sue revealed as a shop-lifter, now faces accusations of an affair with a former team-mate’s partner.

According to most sources – including tomorrow’s Mirror, Sun, Daily Mail and Telegraph - the story involves his England team-mate Wayne Bridge’s long-term partner, French actress and model, Vanessa Perronce. Bridge was at Chelsea with Terry before he moved to Manchester City last year in a £14m deal.

Terry successfully prevented last Sunday’s News of the World from publishing details and photographs but today Mr Justice Tugendhat overturned that interim ruling, insisting the information was in "wide circulation amongst those involved in the sport in question, including agents and others, and not just amongst those directly engaged in the sport".

The judge added: "Freedom to live as one chooses is one of the most valuable freedoms, but so is the freedom to criticise".

News of the World legal manager Tom Crone welcomed the decision as "a long overdue breath of fresh air and common sense" and insisted: "Over recent years, there has been more prior restraint on freedom of speech in Britain than in any other democratic country in the world.

"Gagging orders like the one sought by John Terry have been granted to numerous other Premier League footballers and assorted celebrities."

But Chelsea responded: "This is a personal matter for John Terry. The club will give John and his family all the support they need in dealing with it."

Terry, 29, married childhood sweetheart Toni Poole in 2007 (see picture) and is the father of twins. He is expected to captain England at this summer's World Cup finals in South Africa. But according to websites, Terry’s actions have seen team-mate Bridge, also expected to be in the World Cup squad, to question his international future. He has won 36 caps for England. Bridge and Perronce had a son, Jaydon, in November 2006 but split last month.

Tonight the Mirror columnist Oliver Holt has already called for Terry to remain as England captain, suggesting only his performances on the field really matter. I beg to differ, as I will point out on Sky News tomorrow. To read the fully gory details, simply googe “John Terry Wayne Bridge abortion”. It’s not pleasant.

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