Ex-Manchester Utd and Wales star Ryan Giggs “deliberately headbutted” his ex-girlfriend, a court has heard, according to the BBC.
Mr Giggs, 48, denies a charge of coercive behaviour and assaulting his ex-girlfriend and her sister.
Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, told the court Mr Giggs’ relationship with Kate Greville, 36, was “punctuated by acts of violence and volatility”.
He said Mr Giggs’ private life involved a “litany of abuse, both physical and psychological”.
Mr Giggs is charged with controlling and coercive behaviour against his ex-girlfriend Ms Greville between August 2017 and November 2020.
He is also charged with assaulting Ms Greville, causing her actual bodily harm, and common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, at his home in Worsley, Greater Manchester, on 1 November 2020.
Opening his case against Mr Giggs at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, Mr Wright said this was a story of “control and coercion” of a woman who thought she was “loved and respected”.
He said Mr Giggs was “idolised” for his skills on the pitch but behind closed doors had “a much uglier and more sinister side to his character”.
He told the jury they will hear the relationship had “ups and downs” and that Mr Giggs was seeing someone else when he was with Ms Greville.
“Eventually, after years of turbulence, when the scales fell from her eyes, she realised she needed to remove herself from his sphere of influence,” he said.
Mr Wright said this decision to break away led to the incident on 1 November 2020.
Mr Giggs is said to have “lost control” that evening and headbutted Ms Greville.
While both out with friends at Manchester’s Stock Exchange Hotel, Ms Greville decided to terminate their relationship, said Mr Wright.
He added Ms Greville knew Mr Giggs had “once again” been cheating on her, and informed her sister of her plan to end the relationship before leaving the hotel.
“She intended to make her departure before [Mr Giggs] 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.”
In the altercation that followed, in which Ms Greville took Mr Giggs phone as a “bargaining chip”, they grappled together on the floor before Ms Greville’s sister stepped in, the court heard.
Mr Wright said Emma Greville then tried to pull Mr Giggs off her sister, but he “deliberately elbowed her in the jaw”, before the argument moved to the kitchen.
“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 said the abuse from Mr Giggs was “interspersed with acts of kindness and contrition”, and Mr Giggs would say she had misunderstood him, had jumped to the wrong conclusion and that he was the victim.
“We say this was controlling and coercive behaviour,” he said.
“This was a behaviour to gaslight her, and make her pliant and compliant.”
He said the behaviour was “calculated”, and was “conduct that would have an obvious and serious effect on her emotionally and physically”.
Addressing the jury for Mr Giggs’ defence, Chris Daw QC said on a “moral level” his behaviour was “far from perfect”.
He told the jury some of his messages and emails were “marked by immaturity and inappropriate language”, but this was the case for both him and Ms Greville.
“They behaved like squabbling children, playing on the insecurities of the other.”
But, Mr Daw said “no matter how rude, unpleasant and mean” they were, there were “lines Mr Giggs would never cross”.
“He never once used unlawful violence against Ms Greville,” he said, adding that the case against him was based on “distortion, exaggeration and lies.”
He said it was “clear” Ms Greville’s injuries were not consistent with a head butt from “a strong and physically fit man”.
Referring to the incident on 1 November 2020, Mr Daw said Mr Giggs and Ms Greville both tripped and fell to the floor in the kitchen of his home and that she kicked him in the face as he tried to disentangle himself.
Mr Daw added Mr Giggs was not aware the complainant’s sister was in the house at the time and did not elbow her, as alleged.
The alleged headbutt was “not only a nasty lie but a ridiculous one,” he said, as evidence in the trial will show there was “minor and accidental contact” between their faces.
Mr Daw said in the weeks before, Ms Greville told friends she was determined not to walk away from the relationship with nothing.
He added Mr Giggs had encouraged Ms Greville’s career ambitions in PR, backed her with his own company, and introduced clients.
She was always financially independent, free to travel and see her friends as much as she wanted, he told the court.
“Both could be childish,” he said. On nights out, they would often block each other’s numbers.
“Immaturity is not a crime,” he added, and when it comes to law and morality, “law is what matters”.
Standing in the dock, wearing a dark grey suit, Mr Giggs listened as the jury of seven women and five men was selected and sworn in for the trial.
The jury was told witnesses in the case will include former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and former player Gary Neville.
The trial – expected to last around 10 days – will relocate to Manchester Crown Court from Tuesday and remain there for the duration.
Mr Giggs has denied all charges – the trial continues.
Image credit: PA Media