Ex Man United player had a ‘scary’ side and ‘headbutted girlfriend he abused’

Former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs had a “scary” side to his character and subjected his ex-girlfriend to a “litany of abuse”, a court heard.

Giggs is accused of using controlling and coercive behavior towards Kate Greville, 36, between August 2017 and November 2020.

He is also accused of assaulting Greville, causing her actual bodily harm, and the common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, at his home in Worsley, Greater Manchester, on 1 November 2020.

Giggs has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The 48-year-old was flanked by his legal team and surrounded by a large press pack when he arrived at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester on Monday.

Prosecutors said the former Manchester United star was “adored by adoring fans and supporters” but his character had an ugly side and this was a “story of control and coercion”.

Peter Wright QC told jurors: “Beyond the realm of the privacy of his own personal life at home or behind closed doors, there was, we say the facts reveal, a much uglier and more sinister side to his character.

“This was a private life that involved a litany of abuse, both physical and psychological, by a woman he professed to love.

“A woman who, in reality, if the evidence is to be believed, was treated in a way that cannot be excused or overlooked, either by an adoring public or the law.

“This is a story of control and coercion by a woman who thought she was loved and respected; Unfortunately, the reality was very different.

“Finally, after years of turbulence, as the scales fell from her eyes, she realized she had to remove herself from his sphere of influence.”

Court artist's sketch of Ryan Giggs in front of Judge Hilary Manley at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court (PA Wire)

Court artist’s sketch of Ryan Giggs in front of Judge Hilary Manley at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court (PA Wire)

Wright said that the result of this decision to end the relationship was the incident on 1 November 2020, when Giggs allegedly attacked Greville at his home in Worsley, along with the attack on her sister.

Giggs allegedly “lost control” and hit Greville on the head, Wright told the jury.

While out with friends at Manchester’s Stock Exchange Hotel that night, Greville decided to end their relationship, Wright said.

He said: “She knew the defendant had once again cheated on her.

“During the evening, the defendant’s behavior towards her led her to make that decision and leave early. Before returning home, she informed her sister of her plan via text message.

“She intended to leave before he returned from the hotel. The plan didn’t work.

“When she left the defendant’s home address, he returned and began arguing with her and trying to prevent her from leaving.”

The prosecutor said she took his phone as a “bargaining card” to try to persuade him not to stop her from leaving.

A heated argument ensued and Giggs then attempted to grab her phone, which was later found on a fence post in the garden of the property, Mr Wright said.

Giggs has pleaded not guilty to all charges (PA Wire)

Giggs has pleaded not guilty to all charges (PA Wire)

In the alleged row that followed, they got together on the floor before Ms Greville’s sister stepped in, the court heard.

Mr Wright said: “She [Emma Greville] tried to pull the accused off his sister. Because of her pain, we say, the defendant deliberately elbowed her in the jaw, causing her discomfort and shock that he would turn violent on her as well as her sister.

“The argument between the defendant and Kate Greville moved to the kitchen. The couple continued to argue about her mobile phone.

“At that stage, we say, the defendant lost complete self-control and he deliberately head-butted Kate, causing her lips to swell and bruise. Emma then called the police, who attended the scene.”

Wright told the jury he wanted to provide a “snapshot” of the nature of the relationship between the defendant and Greville, a woman more than 10 years his junior.

He said the incidents included threats to send photos “of a personal nature” to her friends, throw her belongings out of his house when she asked him about relationships with other women, show up unsolicited at her home or gym, and contact her friends for to get her to talk to him again.

The former Wales international’s lawyer, Chris Daw QC, made a shorter opening statement on behalf of his client.

Daw said: “He never used unlawful violence against Greville during their relationship, no matter how bad it got.

“His defense against the abuse is simple. These accusations are based on distortions, exaggerations and lies. He didn’t attack anyone.

“In the weeks before, Kate Greville told friends she was determined not to walk away from the relationship with nothing.”

He said both Giggs and Greville tripped and fell on the kitchen floor at his home in Worsley and she kicked him in the face when he tried to free himself.

Daw said Giggs was not even aware the complainant’s sister was in the house at the time and certainly did not elbow her, as alleged.

The alleged headbutt was “not just a disgusting lie, but a ridiculous one”, he said, as the evidence will show there was only “minor and accidental contact” between their faces.

He continued: “In stark contrast to the picture painted by Mrs Greville, Giggs was not controlling or coercive at all.”

The trial continues.

Further reporting from PA

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