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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Helen Pidd North of England editor

Ryan Giggs head-butted ex-girlfriend when she tried to leave him, court hears

Former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs arrives at Manchester crown court on Tuesday.
Former footballer Ryan Giggs arrives at Manchester crown court on Tuesday. Photograph: Peter Powell/PA

Ryan Giggs grabbed his then girlfriend by the shoulders and head-butted her when she tried to leave him after years of “coercive and controlling behaviour”, a court has heard.

Kate Greville, 36, told a jury at Manchester crown court that she had planned to leave the former Manchester United player when he attacked her in November 2020, and had secretly rented her own flat to move into.

When she called the police, he allegedly told her: “This will ruin me and it will ruin you,” and urged her to “think about my job, think about my career, think about my kids”. She said she told him: “Well, you shouldn’t have done it then.”

Giggs, 48, resigned as manager of the Wales national team after being charged with assaulting Greville and her younger sister, Emma, that night in Salford, Greater Manchester. He denies the charges, as well as one count of coercive and controlling behaviour between December 2017 and November 2020.

Earlier on Tuesday the court heard that Giggs kicked a naked Greville out of a hotel room in Dubai when she accused him of messaging another woman.

Giving evidence behind a screen on Tuesday, Greville said she had discovered before their final fight that Giggs had at least eight other girlfriends while seeing her. She said she had looked through his phone and found messages to them, as well as to friends where he talked of going out to bars to “pull some clunge”.

She said she accelerated plans to leave him after an argument at the Stock Exchange, a five-star hotel in Manchester owned by Giggs and his former United teammate Gary Neville.

The couple were out for dinner with friends on 1 November 2020 when Greville mentioned she had turned down a man who asked her on a date, telling the man: “I can’t believe you’ve asked me out, you’ve got a girlfriend.”

She claimed Giggs stormed up to their room, angry she had not told her suitor that she had a boyfriend. She confronted him with evidence of all of his affairs, telling the jury: “I knew everything that he’d done and been doing behind my back and I had the proof for the first time ever, because he always managed to convince me that it was all in my head and that it was all lies and that I was going crazy.”

She said she called her sister and the pair returned to Giggs’s home in Worsley, Salford, where she had lived since the first Covid lockdown in 2020. They had packed her belongings into bin bags when Giggs returned, “drunk” and furious, she told the jury. During the fight he threatened to call police, saying she had attacked him and was a “psycho”.

It was the first time he had deliberately hurt her, she told the jury. “All the other times he had hurt me, this was different,” she said. “This was real intent. He deliberately wanted to hurt me. He looked me straight in the eyes and head-butted me. It wasn’t like the other times. It wasn’t a grab, it wasn’t a push.”

The court heard that the couple broke up frequently during their four-year “on-off” relationship and were constantly fighting and blocking each other on social media.

Greville, a PR executive, said Giggs was “almost like he was two people” during their relationship. There was “nice” Ryan and “nasty” Ryan, who was violent and controlling.

She told police she met Giggs in 2013, when her firm was contracted to help him and Neville open their Cafe Football and Hotel Football ventures.

She said she and Giggs began an affair when they were both married. She was in an “unhappy” and “really controlling” marriage, which Giggs helped her escape, and he said he wanted to leave his wife, Stacey, for her. Before long, the pair fell in love and by May 2016 their relationship was public.

“I was massively in love with him. I thought he was the best thing ever,” she said in her first police interview.

Nonetheless, there were “red flags” from the start, she told police, describing how he would turn up at her flat and ring her buzzer incessantly if she did not answer his calls or messages, and threaten to tell her boss about their affair. On one occasion, when she would not let him in, he shouted: “You are a whore. Have you got somebody in there?”

Later, when they had been arguing, he would turn up at her gym and follow her home, she alleged.

When Giggs failed to leave his wife, Greville moved to Abu Dhabi “to get away from him”, the court heard. But Giggs continued to contact her and visited her in Dubai, where he once kicked her out of their hotel room, naked, after she accused him of messaging another woman.

But he continued to bombard her with messages and she eventually agreed to move back to Manchester after Giggs said they could have a baby. Later, when she found out he had been seeing other women, he denied ever promising her this.

In an email titled “Cunt”, sent after another argument over a visit to Scotland, Giggs said: “You don’t deserve to be a parent.” This, said Greville, was designed to hurt her deeply: “I desperately wanted to be a mum.”

She described receiving anonymous emails from people saying Giggs was cheating on her. One man emailed her to say his wife had been sent a naked photo of Giggs. Greville looked at the photo and realised it was the same one he had sent her a few weeks earlier. She said she confronted Giggs, only for him to claim it had been sent “ages ago” and “passed it off as a bit of banter”.

On another occasion, when they were arguing and Greville blocked him on social media, she claims Giggs sent her a message titled “Blackmail”, which contained a video. She did not open the video but feared it was a sex tape the pair had made.

The trial continues.

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