Former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs was “idolised” for his skills on the pitch but behind closed doors had “a much uglier and more sinister side to his character”, a court has heard.
Jurors at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court were told the 48-year-old’s private life involved a “litany of abuse, both physical and psychological, of a woman he professed to love”.
Giggs is accused of using controlling and coercive behaviour against ex-girlfriend Kate Greville between August 2017 and November 2020.
He is also charged with assaulting the 36-year-old, causing her actual bodily harm, and of the common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, at his home in Worsley, Greater Manchester, on November 1st, 2020.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Opening the case on Monday, prosecutor Peter Wright QC said of the defendant: “He was idolised by his adoring fans and supporters. On the pitch his skills were abundant and a thing of beauty.
“Off the pitch, in the privacy of his own personal life at home or behind closed doors, there was, we say the facts reveal, a much uglier and more sinister side to his character.
“This was a private life that involved a litany of abuse, both physical and psychological, of a woman he professed to love.
“A woman who, in reality, was, if the evidence is to be believed, treated in a way that cannot be excused or overlooked, by either an adoring public, or the law.
“This is a story of control and coercion of a woman who thought she was loved and respected; sadly the reality was very different.”
The barrister continued: “Eventually, after years of turbulence, when the scales fell from her eyes, she realised she needed to remove herself from his sphere of influence.”
Mr Wright said the result of this decision to break away was the incident on November 1 2020, when Giggs is said to have “lost control” and headbutted Ms Greville.
Giggs stood down in June as manager of the Wales national team following a period of leave since November 2020.
During his time at Old Trafford, Manchester United won 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League trophies, four FA Cups and three League Cups.
He won 64 caps for Wales and is co-owner of League Two side Salford City.