Ryan Giggs subjected his girlfriend to a ‘litany of physical and psychological abuse’ and headbutted her at his £1.7m mansion during a row over his alleged infidelity, a court heard today.
The ex-Manchester United footballer, 48, is accused of using controlling and coercive behaviour against ex-girlfriend Kate Greville, 36, between August 2017 and November 2020.
He is also charged with assaulting and causing her actual bodily harm, and the common assault of her sister, Emma Greville, at his home in Worsley, Greater Manchester.
Prosecutor Peter Wright QC told Manchester’s Minshull Street Court that Giggs’s private life ‘involved a litany of abuse of a woman he professed to love’.
Giggs would email Ms Greville when she blocked him on social media and threaten to send images ‘of a personal nature’, to her friends unless she did what he said, the court heard.
He allegedly harassed Ms Greville and turned up ‘unwanted’ at her house or gym.
Mr Wright added: ‘This was not an expression of love, this is obsessive behaviour by him.’
Mr Wright cited one message from Giggs, which stated: ‘Please unblock me. All this blocking malarkey is poo. Promise, no more naked piccies.’
Minutes later Giggs sent an email with an attachment, with the subject header, ‘Blackmail.’
Jurors were also asked today if they had any personal connection to Sir Alex Ferguson, former defender Gary Neville or executive David Gill – sparking speculation the trio could play a role during the trial.
Giggs has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, 48, is pictured leaving Manchester Minshull Street Court on Monday after a court heard how he harboured a ‘sinister and ugly side’
Giggs (left), 48, is accused of using controlling and coercive behaviour against Kate Greville (right), 36, between August 2017 and November 2020. The pair are pictured here on holiday in 2018
Jurors heard how Giggs (pictured above in a court sketch today) ‘lost control’ and allegedly headbutted his girlfriend at his £1.7m home before going on to assault her sister, Emma Greville
GIGGS’ ‘COERCIVE AND CONTROLLING BEHAVIOUR’ DETAILED TO JURY
Ryan Giggs’ alleged assault on his former girlfriend, which prompted his arrest, was merely the culmination of years of abuse, the court heard.
Mr Wright detailed some of the incidents under which Giggs stands accused of using coercive or controlling behaviour and evidence of his ‘much uglier and more sinister side’.
The incidents included:
- Messaging Ms Greville and/or blocking her when she was on nights out with others, or she asked about Giggs’ relationship with others.
- Threatening to send images ‘of a personal nature’ to her friends.
- Throwing her belongings out of his house when she questioned him about relationships with other women.
- At a London hotel, rowing in the hotel suite and throwing her bag at her.
- Appearing unwanted at her home or gym and contacting her friends to get her to speak to him again.
Mr Wright said these snapshots of his behaviour provided a ‘shaft of light’ on the real Ryan Giggs, who ‘stays in the dark, not the public persona’.
The prosecutor added: ‘This was a manipulative, toxic, damaging relationship by a man upon a vulnerable woman.’
Opening the case, prosecutor Peter Wright QC said of the defendant: ‘He was idolised by his adoring fans and supporters. On the pitch his skills were abundant and a thing of beauty.
‘Off the pitch, 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.
‘This was a private life that involved a litany of abuse, both physical and psychological, of a woman he professed to love.
‘A woman who, in reality, was, if the evidence is to be believed, treated in a way that cannot be excused or overlooked, by either an adoring public, or the law.
‘This is a story of control and coercion of a woman who thought she was loved and respected; sadly the reality was very different.’
The barrister continued: ‘Eventually, after years of turbulence, when the scales fell from her eyes, she realised she needed to remove herself from his sphere of influence.’
Mr Wright said the result of this decision to break away was the incident on November 1 2020, when Giggs is said to have ‘lost control’ and headbutted Ms Greville.
While out together with friends at Manchester’s Stock Exchange Hotel that evening Ms Greville decided to terminate their relationship, said Mr Wright.
He said: ‘She knew that the defendant had once again been cheating on her.
‘During the evening the defendant’s behaviour towards her led to her making that decision and make an early departure. In advance of her return home she informed her sister by text message of her plan.
‘She intended to make her departure before he got back from the hotel. The plan did not work.
‘As she was vacating the defendant’s home address, he came back and began arguing with her and trying to stop her leaving.’
The prosecutor said she took his phone as a ‘bargaining chip’ to try to persuade him not to prevent her from going.
A heated argument followed and Giggs then attempted to grab her phone, which was later found on a fence post in the garden of the property, said Mr Wright.
In the altercation that followed they grappled together on the floor before Ms Greville’s sister stepped in, the court heard.
Ex-Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs arrived at court on Monday and is set to face trial today accused of attacking his ex-girlfriend and her sister
Pictured: Kate Greville was seen walking her dog back in November 2020
Mr Wright said: ‘She (Emma Greville) tried to pull the defendant off her sister. For her pains the defendant, we say, deliberately elbowed her in the jaw causing her discomfort and shock that he would turn violence on to her as well 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 entirely lost self-control and he deliberately headbutted Kate, thereby causing swelling to her lips and bruising. Emma then called the police, who attended the premises.’
Mr Wright told the jury he would give a ‘snapshot’ of the nature of the relationship between the defendant and Ms Greville, a woman more than 10 years younger than him.
He physically threw her, and her belongings, out of an address they were staying at, after Ms Greville challenged him about another woman and threw an item at her in a bust-up in a hotel room in London, the jury heard.
Giggs’ barrister, Chris Daw QC, said the ex-footballer fully accepts that his behaviour – on a moral level – at times during their time together was ‘far from perfect’.
Mr Daw said: ‘He never once used unlawful violence against Ms Greville during the course of their relationship, no matter how bad things got.
‘His defence to the assaults is simple. Those accusations are based on distortion, exaggerations and lies. He assaulted no-one.
‘In the weeks before, Kate Greville said to her friends that she was determined not to walk away from the relationship with nothing.’
He said Giggs and Ms Greville both tripped and fell to the floor in the kitchen at his home and she kicked him in the face as he tried to disentangle himself, and was not even aware that the complainant’s sister was in the house at the time and certainly did not elbow her.
The alleged headbutt was ‘not only a nasty lie but a ridiculous one’, he said, as the evidence will show there was mere ‘minor and accidental contact’ between their faces.
He went on: ‘In stark contrast to the picture painted by Ms Greville, Mr Giggs did not control or coerce at all.’
The court heard that Ms Greville was employed by PR firm Tangerine for part of the alleged period of controlling behaviour and also by Giggs’ own company, GG Hospitality.
Mr Daw said his client encouraged her career ambitions and went on to introduce most of her clients when she set up her business herself and earned a six-figure salary.
He said Ms Greville was ‘always completely financially independent’ and was free to travel and see her friends.
Giggs stood down in June as manager of the Wales national team following 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 is co-owner of League Two side Salford City.
Giggs met Ms Greville in 2013 after she helped promote his Hotel Football venue, launched with ex-United teammate Gary Neville.
He divorced his wife Stacey in December 2017.
Giggs found love again with lingerie model, Zara Charles, 33, who has ‘supported’ him through the charges.