A MAN accused of abusing a BBC reporter as she prepared a live broadcast has appeared in court.

Russell Rawlingson, 50, is accused of causing racially aggravated alarm or distress to journalist Sima Kotecha, MailOnline reports.

The BBC correspondent, from Basingstoke, said she and her team were subjected to 'racist and abusive behaviour' on Sunday as they prepared to broadcast from Leicester. They were forced to abandon their segment over the abuse.

Basingstoke Gazette:

MailOnline reports that Rawlingson, of Glenfield Road, Leicester, denied the charge. He was granted conditional bail until a pre-trial hearing next month.

Ms Kotecha, 40, who has reported from Afghanistan and recently Italy at the height of the country's battle with coronavirus, shared her frustration on Twitter after the alleged incident. She tweeted: "Apologies - but a man shouting terrible things at me has ruined it for everyone. I'm afraid not going to make it on the special programme."

She added: "Apologies to our guests who we had to send home without putting on air after myself and team were subjected to racist and abusive behaviour - sad obstruction of reporting of a national crisis"