Football hero Ryan Giggs was an idol on the pitch but he was a “flirt” who abused his ex-girlfriend in his private life, a court heard.
Manchester’s Main Street Crown Court heard that the former Manchester United and Wales international footballer, who is accused of beating his ex-girlfriend, had a “more vile and sinister side to his character” behind his public persona.
The judges were told that the 48-year-old’s private life included ‘a series of physical and psychological abuse of a woman he declared his love’.
Giggs denies using controlling and coercive behavior against his ex-girlfriend, public relations director Kate Greville, between August 2017 and November 2020.
He also pleaded not guilty to assaulting the 36-year-old, causing her actual bodily harm, and common assault on her younger sister, Emma Greville, at his home in Worsley, Greater Manchester, on November 1, 2020.
Opening the case on Monday, Attorney General Peter Wright QC said of the accused: “He was very popular with his fans and supporters.
“On the field, his skills were abundant and something of a beauty.
“Off the field, in the privacy of his personal life at home or behind closed doors, there was, as we say the facts unfold, a more gruesome, more sinister side to his character.
“It was a private life that involved a series of physical and psychological abuse of a woman he professed to love.”
Wright said after Ms. Greville decided to leave Giggs “lost control” and assaulted her at his home in Worsley, Greater Manchester, on 1 November 2020.
Mrs. Greville had decided to end their relationship earlier that night with friends at the Manchester Stock Exchange Hotel.
She knew Giggs was cheating on her “again” and decided to leave the restaurant early.
Mr Wright continued: “When she gave up the defendant’s home address he came back and started arguing with her and tried to stop her leaving.”
A heated argument ensued and Giggs then tried to grab her phone.
They wrestled together on the floor before mrs. Greville’s sister entered.
Mr Wright said: “She (Emma Greville) tried to get the accused out of her sister.
“We say that due to her pain, the accused elbowed her in the jaw which caused her discomfort and shock as it would provoke violence on her as well as her sister.
The dispute between the defendant and Kate Greville moved to the kitchen.
The couple continued to argue over her mobile phone.
“At that point, we say, the defendant completely lost his self-control and deliberately hit Kate, causing her lips to swell and bruise.”
But jurors heard that the alleged assault was the culmination of a “chain” of years of abuse during the “toxic” relationship between the defendant and Ms. Greville, who was more than 10 years his junior.
Giggs threatened to send photos of her, “of a personal nature”, to her friends unless she did what he allegedly said.
The jury heard that he threw her and her belongings from the address where they were staying, after Mrs. Greville challenged him about another woman throwing something at her in a London hotel room brawl.
He also appeared to “litter” her house or the gym she used.
Mr. Wright gave the jury a taste of some of the “thousands” of letters exchanged between the spouses.
He quoted one Giggs, who read: “Please open up for me. All that blocks Malarkey is poop. Promise, no more nude photos.”
Giggs also sent an email to Ms. Greville sent, and the court heard, with the subject line saying “C***!!!” He called her a “terrible villain.”
Giggs continued: “I’m so crazy now I’m scaring myself because I can do anything.”
Mr. Wright said it offered a “spear of light” on the real Ryan Giggs, who “remains in the dark, not the public figure”.
The attorney general said Giggs’ behavior had become more controlling and coercive, and was calculated to undermine Greville’s self-esteem and present himself as the victim.
Mr Wright added: “We say this was deliberate behavior on his part, aimed at making her question herself and her instincts.”
Giggs’ defense counsel Chris Dow QC said the former footballer admitted he was “far from perfect” during his relationship with Kate Greville but that there were “lines he would never cross” and the alleged shock was a “ridiculous lie “.
Giggs resigned as Wales manager in June after a sabbatical since November 2020.
During his time at Old Trafford, Manchester United won 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League Cups, four FA Cups and three League Cups.
He has made 64 appearances for Wales and is co-owner of Second Division side Salford City.
A jury of seven men and five women will continue to hear the case Tuesday morning.
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