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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Josh Halliday North of England correspondent

Ryan Giggs hid his volatile side but truth has caught up with him, jury told

Ryan Giggs leaves Manchester crown court on Friday
Ryan Giggs’s defence said the prosecution had put its case against him in ‘a very extreme way’. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

Ryan Giggs hid an aggressive and volatile side to his personality for years but “the truth has caught up with him” and he must “pay the price”, a jury has been told.

The former Manchester United and Wales footballer kept part of his profile “hidden beneath the surface” until the night of his arrest, jurors were told.

Giggs, 48, has denied using coercive and controlling behaviour against his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville over a period of three years, and assaulting her and her younger sister on 1 November 2020.

In a closing speech to the jury on Monday, Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said there were “two very different Ryan Giggses” – the one who is “exposed for public consumption and the Ryan Giggs who exists on occasion behind closed doors”.

Wright said Giggs coerced and controlled Greville during their “lengthy, fractious and volatile” relationship using “aggression and acts of volatility” that carried “the unmistakeable and barely concealed threat of physical domination that is his master card, his trump card.”

The prosecutor said the case was not about the “frailty of the human condition” or of the two attributes Giggs told the jury he was known for – football and infidelity.

“It’s about what he’s not known for, what he’s hidden beneath the surface of this character, and of his character, and it’s about the abuse of power by a man over another woman,” Wright said.

“It’s about a man who thinks or thought he could do whatever he likes in respect of his treatment of Kate Greville and he could get away with it, because the sad history of this relationship revealed that his excesses were endured by her and kept private.”

He said Giggs’s attempt to keep his private life under wraps unravelled on 1 November 2020 when he was arrested for allegedly head-butting Greville during an argument at his home in Worsley, Greater Manchester.

“The basis of which he operated disintegrated before his very eyes and the private persona of Ryan Giggs was exposed to public scrutiny,” he said. “The truth had caught up with him and now it’s time, it’s his time, to pay the price.”

Wright said Giggs’s expressions of affection across more than 19,000 messages exchanged between the former couple were “utterly hollow”.

The jury of seven women and five men have been told they will probably retire to consider their verdicts on Tuesday.

Chris Daw QC, for Giggs, said the prosecution had put its case against the defendant in “a very extreme way” and portrayed him as “violent, coercive and controlling to the core”.

He said Giggs was “not on trial for being flirtatious; he’s not on trial for being a compulsive womaniser; he’s not on trial for being an adulterer when he was married; he’s not on trial for being a liar or cheat – none of those things.”

In order to find Giggs guilty, Daw said, jurors had to be sure he had definitely committed the acts alleged. “Probably guilty isn’t enough, in our system – it’s nowhere near it.”

He added: “Even if you are of the view he is probably guilty, you must find him not guilty.”

Daw told jurors that watching Giggs being cross-examined by Wright may have seemed almost “like a form of blood sport” and that the defendant was like “a rabbit in the headlights”.

He said the former Wales manager was unable to answer some questions due to “anxiety on his part, a lack of understanding, and a desire to avoid being humiliated.”

The cross-examination, Daw said, was “no more equal a match-up of putting Mr Wright in goal against Mr Giggs at the time of his peak football prowess.”

The trial continues.

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