A MAN has been acquitted of using a racist insult during a dispute between former friends after a dog bit a child.

Macauley Wilkins appeared at Redditch Magistrates Court charged with using racially aggravated words likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Mr Wilkins, aged 23 of Tillington Close, Redditch, was accused of insulting his neighbour Eloise Blake-Deehan while she sat on her balcony.

Magistrates were told there was ill feeling between Ms Blake-Deehan and Mr Wilkins' partner, Sophie Smith, after Ms Smith's dog but Ms Blake-Deehan's young child during last summer.

The dog, an American Akita, was later destroyed and the prosecution claimed there had been a number of incidents between the two women which culminated on July 19 last year when Mr Wilkins made the remark which landed him in court.

However, Daniel Wayne, for Mr Wilkins, told magistrates his client did not make the alleged offensive comment.

Mr Wilkins told the court: "Sophie Smith and Eloise Blake-Deehan were friends, after the dog incident things just turned sour between them. I was caught in the crossfire, now I'm here."

The court heard Mr Wilkins and Ms Smith were walking across a car park when the alleged incident took place and he was carrying his stepson when the alleged remark was made.

Ms Smith told the court: "I wouldn't allow him to say that in front of our three-year-old son."

While the magistrates concluded all the witnesses were credible and consistent, they decided the prosecution had failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt and Mr Wilkins was found not guilty.