Ryan Giggs subjected ex-partner to 'litany of abuse', court told

Former Manchester United star denies attacking his former girlfriend and her younger sister

Ryan Giggs arrives at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester, England, on Monday. The trial is expected to last two weeks. AP
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Former Manchester United footballer and Wales manager Ryan Giggs went on trial on Monday accused of subjecting his former girlfriend, Kate Greville, to a "litany of abuse" during a coercive and "toxic" relationship.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum jail term of five years.

The jury trial opened at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court on Monday morning, presided over by judge Hilary Manley. She said it is expected to last two weeks.

Giggs entered the court building looking grave-faced, flanked by his legal team.

Inside, he sat upright in the dock, frequently sipped water and appeared to follow the proceedings closely.

He is charged with assaulting his former girlfriend, 36-year-old PR executive Kate Greville, causing her actual bodily harm on November 1, 2020, when police were called to his home in the Manchester area.

The Welshman is further charged with common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, on the same day.

He also faces a charge of controlling and coercive behaviour towards Kate throughout their relationship, which began in 2017 and ended with the alleged assault.

Prosecution lawyer Peter Wright told the jury that Giggs carried out "a litany of abuse ― both psychological and physical ― of a woman he professed to love" during a "manipulative, toxic, damaging relationship".

"The defendant's behaviour became increasingly obsessive" in the relationship, Mr Wright said, and was "calculated to erode any sense of self-worth".

By the date of the alleged assault, Kate "had determined she needed to terminate their relationship" and knew Giggs "had yet again been cheating on her", Mr Wright said.

Her sister Emma had been looking after the couple's house while Giggs and Kate had gone out with friends.

Back at home, Giggs argued with Kate and pushed her to the ground, causing her to bruise her arm, he said.

At this point, Emma intervened and "the defendant — we say deliberately — elbowed Emma in the jaw, causing her discomfort".

Giggs later "deliberately headbutted Kate, thereby causing swelling to her lips that were bruised and bleeding. Shortly after this, Emma called the police," the prosecution lawyer said.

Giggs was arrested by police at his home on suspicion of two accounts of assault and released on bail.

He has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty at an initial court appearance last year.

The judge told jurors they may have formed opinions from media stories, but "must put those opinions aside" and must not "reach for Google".

Kate Greville is set to appear in court Tuesday, speaking behind a screen. The court will also watch a videoed police interview.

Ryan Giggs on the pitch - in pictures

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.

He was appointed Wales boss in January 2018 and helped them to secure qualification for Euro 2020, only their second major tournament appearance since the 1958 World Cup.

Giggs' lawyer, Chris Daw, insisted his client "used no unlawful violence" against Kate or her sister, and that he "fully accepts that his behaviour on a moral level was far from perfect".

Mr Daw said there was "some minor accidental contact" between them on the night of the alleged assault.

Giggs resigned as the Wales manager in June, after being on leave since his arrest.

He remains on conditional bail, and has said he looks forward to "clearing my name".

Updated: August 09, 2022, 11:21 AM