Ryan Giggs had an “uglier and more sinister side”, the court said

Former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs was “adored” for his skills on the pitch but behind closed doors had “a much uglier and more sinister side to his character”, a court has heard.

Jurors at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court were told the 48-year-old’s private life involved a “litany of abuse, both physical and psychological, by a woman he professed to love”.

Giggs is accused of using controlling and coercive behavior towards ex-girlfriend Kate Greville between August 2017 and November 2020.

He is also charged with assaulting the 36-year-old, causing her actual bodily harm, and the common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, at his home in Worsley, Greater Manchester, on November 1, 2020.

He has pleaded guilty to all charges.

Opening the case on Monday, prosecutor Peter Wright QC said of the defendant: “He was adored by his adoring fans and supporters. On the pitch, his skills were plentiful and a thing of beauty.

“Off the field, in 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.

Ryan Giggs trial

Court artist sketch of former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs in front of Judge Hilary Manley at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

“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 by 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.”

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

Wright said the result of this decision to break away was the incident on 1 November 2020, when Giggs is said to have “lost control” and head-butted Greville.

Ryan Giggs trial

Former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs arrives at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court (Danny Lawson/PA)

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

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

Ryan Giggs trial

Ryan Giggs was surrounded by a scrum of reporters and TV crews when he arrived at court (Danny Lawson/PA)

Wright said: “She (Emma Greville) tried to pull the defendant off her sister. For her pain, the defendant, we say, deliberately elbowed her in the jaw and caused her discomfort and shock that he would turn violent on her and her sister.

“The argument between the defendant and Kate Greville moved to the kitchen. The pair 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.”

Giggs resigned in June as manager of the Wales national team after a period of leave since November 2020.

During his time at Old Trafford, Manchester United won 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League trophies, four FA Cups and three League Cups.

He won 64 caps for Wales and co-owns League Two side Salford City.

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