London (AFP) – Former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs headbutted his former girlfriend in the face as she tried to end their relationship, she told a jury Tuesday on the second day of his trial on charges of assault and coercive control.
Giggs, 48, who until recently served as coach of the Wales national team, was sitting in the dock at Manchester Crown Court for the trial that has upended his managerial career.
The jury has heard that Giggs subjected his former partner, 36-year-old PR agent Kate Greville, to a “litany of abuse, both physical and psychological” and revealed a “sinister side”.
Giggs denies the charges, which could lead to a five-year jail term.
His lawyer, Chris Daw, said earlier the footballer “used no unlawful violence”, while conceding that his behaviour “on a moral level was far from perfect”.
– ‘Angry’ –
Greville testified from behind a screen, responding to questions from prosecution lawyer Peter Wright.
She detailed the evening of November 1, 2020, when Giggs allegedly “lost control” and attacked her as she tried to leave the house they shared.
He is also charged with common assault of Greville’s sister Emma, who was dogsitting at the time.
The prosecution has said Giggs deliberately elbowed Emma in the jaw.
“I hadn’t seen him that angry before. He was drunk,” she said, detailing how he pushed her to the floor and pinned her down.
Emma “grabbed (Giggs) round the waist to try and pull him off”, Greville said, and “he pushed his arm back to try and get her off him.”
Greville then told Giggs she would report his attack on her to police.
“That’s when he came towards me and headbutted me in my face,” she said.
“I was in shock. I fell backwards. My lip instantly swelled.
“All the other times that he had hurt me — this was different, because it was with real intent.”
– ‘Pattern’ –
The jury also saw messages where Giggs upbraided Greville for not responding promptly to him.
He threatened to forward a video she feared was “sexual” to her work colleagues and called her a “whore”.
Greville detailed her numerous suspicions of his infidelity.
“Violated. I had no control of what he could do and his actions,” Greville said of her feelings.
The jury earlier watched a video of the police interview Greville gave following the alleged assault.
At times in tears, she described a “pattern” of controlling behaviour.
She said that initially she “was madly in love with him” but “there were definitely red flags” from the start.
– ‘Constant battle’ –
“It was like a constant battle, mentally. I started getting the most horrendous anxiety,” she said.
She described an argument early in their relationship in 2017 when the couple were at a hotel and he “literally flipped”, grabbed her by the arm and dragged her naked into the corridor. He then threw the contents of her suitcase into the hallway.
“That was the first time he had been aggressive with me,” she said.
Greville said that at one point she had felt suicidal.
“I honestly felt like I didn’t want to carry on any more,” she said, sounding tearful.
She said she had viewed Giggs as her “saviour” when they met because she was married to a man who controlled her finances and had a drinking problem.
But Giggs had made her feel “paranoid” about her own perceptions of their relationship, she said, making her question whether she was being “a psycho”.
“I was just naive, I was just vulnerable, I guess,” she added.
The trial continues.
A dazzling teenage talent, Giggs ended his career at Old Trafford as the most-decorated player in English football history.
As a player, he made a club-record 963 appearances over 23 years for Manchester United, winning 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.
He then began his coaching career at Old Trafford, taking temporary charge at the end of the 2013/14 season after David Moyes was sacked, before working as an assistant to Louis van Gaal for two years.
Giggs was appointed Wales boss in January 2018 and helped them secure qualification for Euro 2020, just their second major tournament appearance since the 1958 World Cup.
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