Ryan Giggs says girlfriend was 'controlling of him' with head clash 'not deliberate', court told

Ryan Giggs says he had a scuffle with girlfriend Kate Greville over a mobile phone, where "my head clashed with hers". Credit: PA Images

Former footballer Ryan Giggs told police it was his girlfriend who was "controlling of him" and refused to accept he was "in any way controlling or coercive", a court has heard.

The former Manchester United player and Wales boss said his relationship with Kate Greville, 38, had its "ups and downs" but the "last thing I would want to do is to harm her physically and emotionally".

Giggs gave a number of prepared statements to police following his arrest where he said he was "distressed, hurt and emotional by the way their relationship was being painted to him".

He added although "Kate becomes jealous when she is drunk, and admits goading me for a reaction", "he would never react with violence", and would usually "walk away from incidents".

Manchester Crown Court heard in his first statement, given to officers the day after it is claimed he headbutted his former partner during an argument, Giggs admitted the pair had a "scuffle" over a mobile phone, at his home in Worsley, Salford.

He said his “head clashed” with his girlfriend’s but the blow was "not deliberate".

Giggs denies assaulting Ms Greville causing her actual bodily harm and assault by beating of her younger sister, Emma Greville, on 1 November 2020.

He has also pleaded not guilty to controlling and coercive behaviour against Kate Greville between August 2017 and November 2020.

Former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs denies the charges Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

Jurors were told his hand-written prepared statement began with the words, "At this stage I feel very emotional about the incident".

It continued: "I accept during the tussle she caught me in the face, causing bleeding to the lip and inner mouth.

"I may have caught her and her sister during the scuffle but at no time was there any attempt to harm either of them."

He said he asked both sisters to leave his house, but they refused.

In the statement, Giggs added: “To try to defuse any further physical confrontation I asked my next-door neighbour to phone the police. Unfortunately she would not."

He went on to say he had demanded his phone back from Ms Greville, before going into the utility room to get hers.

“At this point she gave me my phone and rather foolishly I decided to keep hers… I should not have done this but was emotional, angry and upset," he said.

The footballer was planning to call the police but Ms Greville then grabbed his hand and a scuffle developed with her sister Emma “standing in close proximity”.

Giggs stated: “I accept during this scuffle my head clashed with hers (Kate).

“I am not sure if it was the face or head but I am sure it was not deliberate.”

Giggs said that on both occasions he was attacked in the tussle and added: “But I would agree that both sisters were hurt.

“I regret that this argument got so out of hand.

The court heard Ryan Giggs was interviewed by police again in December 2020 in relation to an allegation of coercive and controlling behaviour after officers obtained more alleged details from Ms Greville.

In another prepared defence statement given to police Giggs said: "I will not accept that my behaviour towards my former partner has been in any way controlling or coercive, nor that I have done any of the incidents in the manner described."

In response to an allegation he had threatened to release intimate photos of Ms Greville and/or himself, Giggs’ statement said he “didn’t recall” making the threat and would “never” have released such material.

“I would be terrified of the publicity that would be generated,” he said. “Kate knows how I feel regarding the press and negative publicity.”

The statement said that even if a threat had been made “in jest or in drink,” it would be “preposterous” for Ms Greville to believe it would be carried out.

His continued there were occasions when Ms Greville had tried to “control our relationship,” including one incident when she was jealous of his “contact with other females”.

Giggs said: “She ordered me to message certain women with whom she incorrectly accused me of having an affair.

“She dictated the content of the messages and watched me while I sent them.”

He described the relationship as mainly “wonderful,” adding: “We would, of course, argue, but neither of us had any more control over the other.”

In a further statement to police, Giggs said the relationship being described was “not the one I understood it to be”.

He said: “It has been suggested these incidents happened when I was the worse for drink, when in fact Kate becomes jealous when she is drunk, and admits goading me for a reaction.

“I would never react with violence.

“Despite allegations of violence, I often walk away from incidents.”

Giggs added that rather than the arguments being caused by him being “defensive” over allegations of cheating, they started for “all sorts of reasons, including me suggesting she was flirting with other males”.

“I feel extremely distressed, hurt and emotional by the way this relationship is being painted to me,” he said.

“I had no idea Kate was planning to end the relationship, I have only learned this since the incident.”

The trial continues.