London (AFP) – A UK court on Tuesday heard the ex-girlfriend of former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs tearfully recount years of “aggressive” and manipulative behaviour by the footballer at his trial for assaulting and coercively controlling her.

On the second day of the high-profile trial, the jury watched footage of a police interview with Giggs’s former partner, Kate Greville, given in November 2020 after police were called to the couple’s home following an incident.

At times tearfully, she described what she called a “pattern” of controlling behaviour and said it had driven her, at one point, to feel suicidal.

Giggs, 48, who until recently served as coach of the Wales national team, was sitting in the dock at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday.

He denies the charges, which could lead to a five-year jail term. 

The jury has heard that Giggs subjected his former partner to a “litany of abuse, both physical and psychological”, revealing a “sinister side to his character”.

Greville, 36, a PR agent who met Giggs through her job, said she “was madly in love with him” but “there were definitely red flags” from the start.

The prosecution says that Giggs on 1 November, 2020, deliberately headbutted Greville, bruising her lip, and also deliberately elbowed her sister in the jaw when she intervened.

Giggs’s lawyer, Chris Daw, said Monday that the footballer “used no unlawful violence”, while saying his client acknowledged his behaviour “on a moral level was far from perfect”.

Greville detailed her numerous suspicions of his infidelity, saying Giggs repeatedly responded with aggressive denial, blocking her number and giving her the “silent treatment”, before begging to get back with her.

– ‘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 where he threw the contents of her suitcase out.

“That was the first time he had been aggressive with me; he had been verbally aggressive,” she said.

Greville said during the police interview 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 that she had initially viewed Giggs as her “saviour”, as when they met 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.

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.