Former Manchester United player Ryan Giggs will not face a retrial over domestic violence claims after prosecutors on Tuesday withdrew the charges due to the “unwillingness” of his ex-girlfriend to give evidence.
Giggs, 49, was due to go on trial for a second time on July 31 after a month-long trial last year ended without the jury reaching a verdict.
But prosecuting lawyer Peter Wright told Manchester Crown Court in north west England that there was no realistic chance of conviction.
Giggs’ ex-girlfriend Kate Greville had “indicated an unwillingness” to give evidence and that the first trial had “taken its toll” on her and her sister Emma, he explained.
“That being the case, we formally offer no evidence on counts one, two and three. This is not a decision taken lightly,” said Wright.
He added that there had been “protracted” efforts to find out why she was unwilling to testify and that it was inappropriate to compel her to give evidence.
Judge Hilary Manley replied: “I formally enter not guilty verdicts in respect of those counts.”
Chris Daw, representing Giggs, said the former footballer was “deeply relieved the prosecution has finally come to an end after almost three years in which he’s been fighting throughout to clear his name.
“He has always been innocent of these charges, there’s been very, very many lies told about him in court.
“He’s now been found not guilty of all the charges and going forward would like to rebuild his life and career as an innocent man.”
Giggs, a former Wales international, had denied the allegations of controlling and coercive behaviour against former girlfriend Greville as well as assaulting her and her younger sister.
Prosecutors had alleged that the ex-star headbutted Greville in the face as she tried to end their relationship, and had subjected her to a “litany of abuse, both physical and psychological”.
The three counts could have lead to a five-year jail term, but Giggs has now been cleared of all charges.
Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was among those to give evidence in the trial last August, which also saw Giggs take the stand and admit to being unfaithful in all his past romantic relationships but deny ever being violent.
He resigned as the Wales manager last June, after being on leave since his arrest.
Giggs exploded onto the scene as a teenager in the mid-1990s. He ended his career at Old Trafford as the most decorated player in English football history.
As a player, he made a club record 963 appearances over 23 years for Manchester United, winning 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.
He began his coaching career at Old Trafford, taking temporary charge at the end of the 2013-14 season after David Moyes was sacked. Giggs then worked as an assistant to Louis van Gaal for two years.
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