The jury heard that he had been “both physically and mentally abused by the woman he claimed to love”.
These were the moments when, according to the prosecution, on the opening day of the trial involving Sir Alex Ferguson, he was “the real Ryan Giggs, not a public figure” sitting in the dock, accused of domestic abuse. Some of the biggest names in Manchester Unitedis the past.
The real Giggs, it was alleged, had a manipulative, sinister and sometimes violent side and led a very different life with 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League Final win and four The FA Cup 23 years of triumph as a player, superstar and history maker at Old Trafford.
The most decorated player in United’s history faces allegations of using controlling and coercive behavior against Kate Greville, his ex-girlfriend, between August 2017 and November 2020. The court was told, “Systematic and sometimes violent abuse of women… preying on her vulnerability for his own gratification”.
Giggs is accused of assaulting Greville, causing her actual bodily harm by headbutting her when she tried to break up. He is also accused of assaulting her younger sister, Emma – allegedly elbowing her in the jaw in the same incident.
Giggs has denied all wrongdoing and claimed the sisters had “exaggerated and fabricated” the allegations against him.
So who is the real Ryan Giggs?
His legal team argued that he had never been in trouble with the police in his life and was actually the victim of a lie.
Prosecutors, however, are portraying him as a serial abuser with aggressive tendencies who threatened to send private photographs of Greville to her employers and subjected her to an “endless cycle of emotional and, on occasion, physical abuse.”
“He is, as you know, a hugely respected ex-professional footballer,” Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, told the jury at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court. “In his prime, he played domestically and internationally for Manchester United Wells. He was and still is imaged by his adoring fans and supporters.
“On the field, his skills were immense and a thing of beauty. Off the pitch, in the privacy of his personal life and home, behind closed doors, there was a much uglier and more sinister side to his character.”
What was the scene on Monday?
By 8:30 am, the queue outside the court stretched about 60 meters towards Piccadilly Gardens.
Trams sound their horns to ensure that crowds of people on the sidewalks do not cross their path. Guests at the Holiday Inn Hotel across from the courthouse had gathered outside to see what was going on. And then, in the click of a camera lens, Giggs emerges from a media scrum to be led into court, where a woman 10 years his junior is accused of “acts of violence and disorder”.
Minshull Street is a charming Flemish Gothic building with wood-panelled courtrooms and a sense of history dating back 150 years. Giggs was brought into court in a central, glass-enclosed dock, behind a security guard, before a jury of seven women and five men.
Each juror was asked if he or she knew Giggs or anyone else who might be mentioned during the case.
Ferguson’s name first came up, he was manager of United, when Giggs was establishing himself as one of the most decorated players of his generation. David Gill, United’s former chief executive, was also named alongside Gary Neville, a Sky Sports pundit and Giggs’ teammate in United’s famous group of youth academy products, dubbed the Class of ’92.
What are the main charges?
Also allegations of violence, Giggs is accused of:
- She describes Kate Greville as “constantly bombarded”. Giggs would repeatedly harass her with abusive messages when she was out on nights out, and frequently harassed and harassed her.
- One of the messages had a “blackmail” header. Another read: “C***”. On one occasion, Giggs wrote to his girlfriend, “Only an evil horrible c*** does that”, and followed it up with, “I’m so mad right now I’m scaring myself because I can do anything”.
- When she questioned him about his relationships with other women, he threw her and her belongings out of his house.
- Constantly sending unwanted messages and making constant unwanted calls to her and her friends when she tried to break up.
- Regularly turning up unannounced at her home, workplace and gym after she tried to end their relationship.
Who gave the evidence and what did they say?
Prosecutors opened the case alleging that Giggs had an abusive relationship with his girlfriend for more than three years and was guilty of “gaslighting” to cover up his guilt.
According to Wright, his text messages “offered a shaft of light on the real Ryan Giggs, sitting in the dock, not a public figure”.
“This is a story of control and coercion of a woman who thought she was loved and respected — unfortunately, the reality was very different,” Wright told the jury. “This was a toxic, harmful relationship manipulated by a man over a vulnerable woman. It was a way of behaving that she was subjected to and unable to change. It had become second nature to him.
“He tried to normalize this behavior as the product of a tense, passionate and loving relationship. There was nothing like that. This (his defense) is the subtle psychology of the gaslighter.
Wright added: “She (Greville) described various incidents over the years and how he would harass her on social media when she was out with friends. If she did not respond, he would make various threats. If she didn’t do as he was told, he would threaten to send personal images to friends and work colleagues. On one occasion, when she challenged him about (his other) relationships, he physically threw her and her belongings away.
On other occasions, according to Wright, there would be acts of kindness from Giggs, which the prosecutor described as a way to win her forgiveness and continue the relationship. Greville, he said, was “treated in a way that cannot be excused or ignored” by the legal system or Giggs’ fans.
Giggs, which officially Stepped down as Wales national team manager After completing their eligibility in June for this winter World Cup Since the finale has been on leave since his arrest in November 2020, he was also said to have reacted badly when it was revealed that his girlfriend “wanted to remove herself” from the relationship.
On their last night together, they went to the Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester with friends. Greville had decided to end the relationship because she “perceived, again, that the defendant (Giggs) was cheating on her”.
So there was a heated argument in their house.
“In the ensuing scuffle, he pushed her to the ground… she was trying to hold on to him and hold on,” Wright said. “They were gnawing on the ground. Emma came in and tried to pull the defendant away from her sister. To her pain, the defendant – we say, deliberately – elbowed her (Emma) in the jaw.
In the kitchen, it is alleged that Giggs, who was awarded an OBE for his services to football in 2007, “completely lost control of himself and deliberately headbutted Kate, causing her lip to swell and bruise and bleed some”.
What’s happening on Tuesday?
This will be the time for Kate Greville to give evidence – she will be allowed to do so behind the scenes, so she doesn’t have to face her alleged abuse.
The jury will also be shown a video of her police interview and photographs of her injuries from the alleged headbutt incident.
Giggs says the bleeding was an accidental head-butt and the truth is he was attacked.
Chris Dr QC, representing Giggs, said the alleged headbutt was “not only a nasty lie but a ridiculous one”, and told the jury that photographic evidence would show Greville only had “minor, minor injuries”.
A deliberate headbutt by a former professional athlete would have seriously damaged Greville’s face, claimed Dr.
The reality, he added, is that Giggs is not the man his ex-girlfriend portrayed him to be. He had encouraged her career ambitions as a PR executive, supported her decision to move abroad and, when she returned to Manchester, offered her a job at her own company, GG, with a six-figure salary.
Dr told the court that Giggs admitted his “behaviour on a moral level was sometimes far from perfect”.
Guilty of foul language and immaturity, it characterized “the pair acted like bickering children… like teenagers… they each played on each other’s vulnerabilities”. They used to block each other frequently on social media.
He told the jury: “However rude, unpleasant, however some of these arguments may have been – on both sides – the defense case is that Mr Giggs will not cross.
“Physical attacks and violence, the defense says, are simply false.
“Not once did he use unlawful violence… The allegations are not true.”
(Top graphic — Photo: Getty Images; Design: Sam Richardson)