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

Ryan Giggs made ex-girlfriend ‘slave to his every need’, court told

Former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs arrives at Manchester crown court.
Former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs arrives at Manchester crown court. Photograph: Steven Allen/PA

The ex-girlfriend of former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs has told a court she became “a slave to his every need” and that he was “regularly aggressive”.

Giving evidence on the third day of Giggs’s assault trial, Kate Greville said he exerted control over her social life and the end of their six-year relationship was “pretty much relentlessly awful”.

She told jurors that the former Wales manager “made me feel like I had to do what he said, otherwise there were consequences”.

Giggs, 48, denies using controlling and coercive behaviour against Greville, 36, between August 2017 and November 2020, assaulting her, causing actual bodily harm, and the common assault of her younger sister, Emma.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, Greville said Giggs “isolated me from certain people” and “interfered with my ability to interact with my family and elements of my social life”.

Greville told the jury she initially thought of Giggs as a “knight in shining armour” who had come to save her from her troubled marriage.

She said Giggs was “nice” for the majority of their relationship but that he “turned” when they moved in together before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“He was aggressive regularly,” she told the jury. “It wasn’t constant violence. There wasn’t regular violence but there were times in our relationship when he was violent.”

Giggs denies one count of assaulting Greville by head-butting her during an argument at their home in Worsley, Greater Manchester, in November 2020.

He also disputes her account of an incident in which he is alleged to have dragged Greville out of their Dubai hotel room while she was naked following an argument about who he was messaging.

The jury at Manchester crown court heard that Greville told police on 7 August, the day before the trial began, that she became “a slave to his every need and every demand”.

She told jurors on Wednesday: “That’s what it felt like. When Ryan said do something, I would do it. There was resistance sometimes but he made me feel like I had to do what he said, otherwise there were consequences.”

Chris Daw QC, for Giggs, read out a series of text messages in which the former footballer displayed his affection for the Greville, a PR executive, and praised her for setting up her own business in Dubai.

He also read a text message from Greville to a friend in which she described marks on her arm – following the Dubai hotel incident – as a “sex bruise”.

Greville said she claimed it was a “sex bruise” because she was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” about the altercation and “didn’t want it to be the reality of what the relationship was”.

Breaking into tears in the witness box, she said: “I couldn’t believe this person who could show me that [affection] could do this to me as well. I didn’t know who the real person was.”

She added: “I felt it was my fault he did those things to me... maybe I riled him up too much.”

Daw described this as a “pack of lies” and suggested the bruise was in fact from rough sex.

He read intimate messages between Giggs and Greville in which he suggested the complainant was asking him to be “more assertive sexually”.

The court heard that Giggs later sent Greville a picture of a paddle from the lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur and wrote: “You asked me to be a little more assertive darling.”

Greville asked what the item was, so Giggs said it was a paddle. He then shared a picture of a pair of handcuffs and said he would use the former sex toy “just after I’ve used these bad boys”.

Daw said the messages showed that Greville’s initial claim to a friend that the bruising on her arm was a “sex bruise” was in fact the truth.

Greville denied this and said her messages to Giggs were just “making light” of the cover story – a ruse, she said, that was “100% wrong”.

The trial continues.

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