Ryan Giggs has been told he faces waiting until June 2023 for a new trial after a jury failed to reach a verdict in his case.
After deliberating for 22 hours and 59 minutes, jurors told Judge Hilary Manley that even if time was not an obstacle, there was no prospect of 10 of the 11 agreeing on a verdict on any of the three counts.
Mr Giggs dropped his head and looked at the floor upon hearing the news whilst sitting in the dock on Wednesday.
The ex-footballer’s mother, Lynne Giggs, who watched from the public gallery, held her head in her hand. She later told reporters that her son's life was "on hold".
The estimated cost to the taxpayer of holding the trial was thought to be in excess of £100,000.
After the jury left the court, Peter Wright QC, for the prosecution, said the Crown Prosecution Service needed a week to “reflect as to whether we seek a retrial”.
The judge indicated that the next available date, should a retrial go ahead, would be nine months away on June 5, 2023.
Originally, this trial was scheduled for January, but was pushed back eight months to August due to the Covid backlog.
There is no guarantee that the June 5 date would not be subject to similar delays. It may also be under threat because of escalating industrial action by criminal barristers, with the launch of an indefinite strike from next week.
Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures have suggested that for every full working week that criminal barristers strike, about 1,300 cases - including 300 trials - will be disrupted.
Dame Vera Baird, the victims' commissioner, warned this week that her office was receiving reports that many victims “just can’t take” the delays and uncertainty, and are dropping out of cases – causing prosecutions to be halted.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that one 13-year-old rape victim was facing a three-year wait for the trial of her alleged attacker. The delays have left her feeling so traumatised that she is unable to leave her house.
The teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was raped on her way home from meeting friends in broad daylight two years ago. A man was charged and a trial date set for June 2022.
However, just days before the trial was due to begin, her family were informed via email that there would be a nine-month delay, because there was no judge available.
Jury deadlocked in Ryan Giggs trial
Mr Giggs, the Manchester United great, waited 40 minutes in his consultation room before leaving Manchester Crown Court on the 17th and final day of his trial to be greeted by an army of photographers.
He denied using controlling and coercive behaviour against Kate Greville, 36, between Aug 2017 and Nov 2020, assaulting her, causing actual bodily harm, and the common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, 26.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the football manager, gave evidence during the trial, saying he had never seen his former protege lose his temper and that he was the “best example” of a footballer he had ever seen.
Mr Giggs gave evidence in the trial and cried as he recalled spending a night in the cells, describing it as the “worst experience of my life”.
The court heard that some 19,671 messages between the couple during their six-year on-off relationship had been recovered as part of the investigation into the allegations.
Those included poetry written by Mr Giggs, one of which said “pulling you was my biggest coo[sic]” and signed off by describing his genitalia as a totem pole.
Kate Greville said that Mr Giggs controlled certain aspects of her social life, would turn up unannounced at her home, gym and work and would demand she reply instantly to messages.
She described being a “slave” to the ex-footballer’s “every demand and every need”.
Mr Wright described Mr Giggs as a “serial abuser” who had a “sinister” side to his character that the public never saw.
This "involved a litany of abuse, both physical and psychological, of a woman that he professed to love", Mr Wright told the jury.
Chris Daw QC, for the defence, accused Kate Greville of lying and exaggerating her story to make things look “as bad as possible” for the defendant.
It emerged during the trial that Ms Greville had faked cancer in order to get her contraceptive coil removed without Mr Giggs knowing - something the defence say was a ploy by her to get pregnant.
The court heard how they continued to have unprotected sex after she had removed her contraception.
Ms Greville, 36, discovered in Oct 2020 that Mr Giggs had been cheating on her with eight women during their six-year relationship. She had planned to leave him when he was away on managerial duties with Wales in mid-November of that year.
After finding out the extent of Mr Giggs’ infidelity, she messaged friends to say she was “planning her attack”, and said she was not “walking away with nothing”.
She conceded she did not want these messages to be seen by the police, and it was not until the defence’s legal team issued a summons that she handed over a “limited amount of data” to officers.
In the meantime, she had deleted messages, lost a phone in a river whilst trying to rescue her dog and lost a second phone when it was stolen in Manchester city centre.
It also emerged during the trial that Ms Greville staged fake photographs that were sold to a tabloid newspaper.
She messaged friends about “getting £5,000” for the images, which would help redecorate her flat and pay for her legal costs.
An email entitled “blackmail”, which Mr Giggs sent to Ms Greville, lay at the heart of the CPS’s case of coercion and control against the former footballer.
He attached a video to the email and threatened to send it to a work WhatsApp group that both he and his then girlfriend were a part of.
In her police interview, Ms Greville insinuated it was a sexual video, saying it was “one of our videos”, but that she had deleted the email before opening it.
The Crown, too, through Mr Wright, suggested in opening speeches it was an intimate clip.
But it turned out to be a video of Ms Greville dancing to Wham!’s Last Christmas. Mr Giggs said this was a “joke” because she would be embarrassed by it.
It emerged in court that Det Con Adam Agrebi, the senior investigating officer in the case, knew the contents of the email 18 months before the trial, but it was not relayed to the CPS.
Judge Manley asked the jury to consider: “Was this, as the defence suggest, a relationship which had its ups and downs, more ups than downs ... which veered off the rails only because of the complainants’ inability to accept Mr Giggs' serial womanising?
"And has Kate Greville exacted her revenge and twisted their routine arguments to a portrait of control, violence and of misery?"
Or, she asked, was it a "dark" relationship in which Mr Giggs "exploited" his power over a "vulnerable" Ms Greville and "lost his self-control and physically attacked".
The jury was reminded by the judge: "Mr Giggs is not on trial for being serially unfaithful - this is not a court of morals."
Ms Greville kept her plan to leave Mr Giggs from him, but told the court her ploy was accelerated by an argument on Nov 1 2020, which led to her confronting him over his infidelity.
The second and third charges against Mr Giggs related to that evening when he was alleged to have headbutted Kate Greville in the face and elbowed her sister Emma in the jaw.
Mr Giggs said he was kicked in the face six or seven times during a tussle over a mobile phone, and that he never assaulted either sister.
The Greville sisters said Mr Giggs put his hands on Kate Greville’s shoulders and headbutted her with “major force” to the lip.
Mr Giggs said their faces accidentally clashed as Kate Greville tried to get a mobile phone out of his pocket.
At 3.45pm on Tuesday, Aug 23, the jury were sent out to deliberate. Before sending them out, the judge reassured them there was no pressure to return a verdict in any particular timeframe, saying: "It's your turn to keep us waiting."
After a whole day of deliberation on Wednesday, a juror was ill on Thursday, and the panel was sent home for the day.
The juror did not recover from his illness by Friday, and Judge Manley decided to permanently dismiss him, reducing the jury panel down to 11 people.
By Tuesday afternoon, after some 16 and a half hours of deliberation, the four men and seven women were still deadlocked and the judge told them she would accept a majority verdict upon which 10 of the jurors were agreed.
But this had no impact, and the trial ended in a hung jury.
The case had been originally listed for two weeks at Manchester Crown Court, but it entered its fourth week on Tuesday, Aug 30.
Mr Giggs was released on bail pending a hearing on Sept 7, where he will discover whether or not he faces standing trial again.