Ex-Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs told police his “head clashed” with his girlfriend’s during a “scuffle” over a mobile phone but the blow was “not deliberate”, a court has heard.
Giggs was interviewed by detectives the day after being arrested on suspicion of assaulting his ex-partner, Kate Greville, 38, and her younger sister, Emma Greville, during an the incident at the defendant’s home in Worsley, Greater Manchester, on November 1 2020.
Jurors at Manchester Crown Court were told on Tuesday that the 48-year-old provided officers with a hand-written prepared statement which began with the words “At this stage I feel very emotional about the incident”.
“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.
“I had no option but to demand my phone to ring the police.
“I went to the utility room to get hers (Kate Greville’s).
“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.”
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.
“Kate and I had had a great week together and I was looking forward to our night at the Stock Exchange and the use of the hotel.
“We have been together for over four years and, like many couples, have our ups and downs, mostly ups. I sincerely hope this is not the end of our relationship.
“The last thing I would want to is to harm her physically and emotionally.”
He said he could see she was “hurt and crying” on the night and he later went outside as the police arrived at his house.
Giggs said: “I was pleased as this argument had been going on for over an hour and, as I thought at the beginning, this was the only way this argument would end.”
The former Wales international was again interviewed by police a month later, in relation to an allegation of coercive and controlling behaviour after officers obtained more alleged details from Ms Greville.
In a prepared defence statement given to police and read in court by prosecutor Peter Wright QC, 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 that 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.
Giggs said he was “proud” of his partner’s success and that she retained her independence throughout the relationship.
But in his statement he also claimed Ms Greville had tried to “control our relationship”, including an incident when she was jealous of his “contact with other females”.
“She ordered me to message certain women with whom she incorrectly accused me of having an affair,” he said.
“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.”
Later he 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.”
Rather than arguments being caused by him being “defensive” over allegations of cheating, he said 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 ex-winger has denied assaulting Ms Greville, causing her actual bodily harm, and a separate charge of assault by beating of her 26-year-old sister.
Giggs also denies using controlling and coercive behaviour against Kate Greville between August 2017 and November 2020.
The trial continues.