Ryan Giggs broke down in tears in court on Wednesday as he said that spending a night in the police cells was “the worst experience of [his] life”.
The former Manchester United and Wales player became emotional as he was asked to describe the evening he was arrested for allegedly head-butting his then girlfriend Kate Greville on 1 November 2020.
The jury at Manchester crown court heard that Giggs was taken to Pendleton police station in Salford between 10pm and 11pm following the alleged assault.
Asked by his barrister, Chris Daw QC, to describe how it felt to spend a night in the cells, Giggs replied: “Worst experience of my life.”
He then became tearful in the witness box as the jury looked on. He took a few moments to regain his composure before continuing his evidence.
He earlier told the court he was “confused and scared” after being accused of head-butting his girlfriend during a “tug of war” over a mobile phone.
He said he did not deliberately head-butt Kate Greville and that they accidentally “clashed heads”.
Giving evidence for a second day, Giggs said Greville had been trying to retrieve her phone from his pocket when they came face to face in his kitchen.
“It got more and more aggressive. We were facing each other. It was a sort of tug of war and then we clashed heads,” he said. He said Greville fell backwards and that he could “quite clearly see that she was hurt”.
Greville, 36, has told the trial that Giggs put both of his hands on her shoulders and head-butted her in the face.
Giggs was asked how he felt when Greville accused him of head-butting her and said she would call the police. He said: “Confused and scared because now it looks like a situation where what happened was completely different and I was scared.”
Giggs’s barrister, Chris Daw QC, asked the former Wales manager: “Did you at any stage put your hands on Kate’s shoulders and forcefully and deliberately head-butt her in the face?”
“No, I didn’t,” said Giggs.
“Would you ever do such a thing?” asked Daw. “No,” replied Giggs.
The former Wales manager, 48, denies assaulting Greville, causing her actual bodily harm, and the common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, at his home in Worsley on 1 November 2020.
He also denies using controlling and coercive behaviour against Greville between August 2017 and November 2020.
Giggs said the alleged head-butt happened after he and Greville had fallen out during an evening meal at the Stock Exchange hotel, in Manchester, when she confronted him with allegations of cheating – which he denied.
He told the jury he returned home to find Greville and her younger sister packing Giggs’s dog’s toys, blanket and crate into the boot of the car.
Giggs removed the items from the car and told the pair to leave but they refused, he said. They then tussled over a phone as Giggs threatened to call the police, the court heard.
Addressing jurors from the witness box, Giggs said he and Kate fell to the floor as they tried to grab the device: “Kate ended up on her back, I was on top of her … and I was around her waist area.”
He added: “Then Kate just proceeded to kick me in the head. As soon as we were on the floor I was getting kicked in the head and I was protecting my head. After about six or seven kicks to the head I just got up and we went our separate ways.”
Emma Greville alleged that Giggs at this point struck her in the face with his elbow as she tried to lift him off her sister. Asked if this happened, Giggs said: “No.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Giggs said there was “no excuse whatsoever” for an email he sent Greville, with the subject line: “CUNT!!!” after she told him she did not want him to join her on a trip to Scotland in June 2020.
Jurors had heard that the email read: “Only an evil horrible cunt does that. Absolutely astonishing. Now I look an utter twat after telling three of my friends I’m going to Scotland at the weekend … I’m so fucking mad now I’m scaring myself because I could do anything.”
Asked by Daw whether there was any excuse for using that “truly appalling” language, Giggs said: “No excuse whatsoever.” He added: “I can’t believe I used that sort of language to someone I was supposedly in love with.
Giggs was also asked about an incident in February 2020 in which he allegedly grabbed Greville by the wrist and pulled her arm during a holiday in Dubai.
The former midfielder said he did not remember “any sort of physical interaction” with her. He said the argument arose after he mistakenly called her Stacey, the name of his ex-wife, following an afternoon drinking wine with Greville’s best friend.
He said: “In my view it was just a stupid argument. I can understand why she was upset but it was a slip of the tongue”.
The argument “escalated,” he said, and Greville said she was leaving their hotel room. “I said, ‘Listen, if you’re not going to treat it as a slip of the tongue you can go.’ I said, ‘Come on, this is stupid, it’s a stupid argument.’ She was insisting on leaving.”
He told jurors: “I might have tried to stop her from leaving but I don’t remember any sort of physical interaction between me and Kate.”
Giggs said he was “gutted” that the argument had spoiled an “amazing” holiday and that he was “devastated” on the flight home.
The ex-Wales manager said there were “more ups than downs” in their six-year on-off relationship and that arguments like the one in Dubai did not tell “the full story of our relationships”.
He said he never had control over her friendships, or travel, or how often she socialised. Greville has accused Giggs of controlling “elements” of her social life.
Giggs told jurors there was “bickering” like in many relationships and admitted he had called “a team meeting” over the messy organisation of the dishwasher.
He said: “I would be opening the dishwasher and the tablespoons and glasses would be the wrong way round. It would wind me up because I would have to do it again so I called a team meeting and just said, ‘Everyone, can you please put the tablespoons the right way round.’
“It wasn’t a big argument. It was just how I explained it.”