Maguire: I was scared for my life

United cap­tain feared Greek po­lice were ac­tu­ally kid­nap­pers ’Of­fi­cers hit my legs and said that I would never play again’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - Tom Mor­gan

A tear­ful Harry Maguire said last night he was “scared for his life” dur­ing his ar­rest in Greece and in­sisted he owed no apolo­gies over his con­vic­tion for as­sault­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer.

The Manch­ester United cap­tain spoke of his fear as of­fi­cers on the is­land of Mykonos hit his legs and told him his “ca­reer is over, no more foot­ball, you won’t play again”.

Maguire, who stands by his de­fence that he thought he was be­ing ab­ducted af­ter his younger sis­ter Daisy had ear­lier been the vic­tim of an at­tempted date-rape drug at­tack, said he was con­fi­dent the rul­ing by three judges will be over­turned at re­trial. In an un­flinch­ing de­fence, the Eng­land in­ter­na­tional told the BBC in his first in­ter­view that claims he had at­tempted to bribe of­fi­cers were “ridicu­lous”.

“I don’t feel like I owe an apol­ogy to any­body,” he said of his sus­pended 21-month jailed term passed down by a court on the neigh­bour­ing is­land of Sy­ros on Tues­day. “An apol­ogy is some­thing when you’ve done some­thing wrong. Do I re­gret be­ing in a sit­u­a­tion? Ob­vi­ously, the sit­u­a­tion made it dif­fi­cult. I play for one of the big­gest clubs in the world so I re­gret putting the fans and the club through this.”

United and Maguire’s de­fence claim they were not given enough time to pre­pare for the case. Pa­pers have al­ready been lodged for a re­trial, which is likely to take place within the next six months. Maguire de­nies po­lice claims that he said: “Do you know who I am? I am the cap­tain of Manch­ester United. I am very rich. I can give you money. I can pay you. Please let us go.”

In­stead, he told the BBC: “My ini­tial thoughts were I was get­ting kid­napped. We got down on our knees. We put our hands in the air and then they just started hit­ting us. They were hit­ting my leg say­ing ‘my ca­reer is over, no more foot­ball – you won’t play again’. At this point, I thought there’s no chance these are po­lice. I don’t know who they are so I tried to run away. I was in that much of a panic, in fear and scared for my life.”

Maguire had been with a group of four men and three women, in­clud­ing his fi­ancee Fern and

sis­ter, leav­ing the Bon­bon­nierre bar in the Fabrika area of Mykonos fol­low­ing an all-day drink­ing ses­sion when trou­ble flared at about mid­night on Thurs­day.

The 27-year-old be­came emo­tional as he de­tailed how he thought Daisy had been drugged: “These two men ap­proached my lit­tle sis­ter – they asked her where she was from, she re­sponded and then my fi­ancee, Fern [Hawkins], saw my lit­tle sis­ter’s eyes go­ing to the back of her head.

“She ran over and she [Daisy] was faint­ing, she was in and out of con­scious­ness.”

Maguire, his brother, Joe, 28, and their friend, Chris Shar­man, 29, were all found guilty of as­sault de­spite claim­ing they were afraid the of­fi­cers wanted to kid­nap them for ran­som.

When asked whether he was ask­ing for trou­ble, the player added:

“No. I think it could have hap­pened any­where. I love Greece. Foot­ballers get a bit of stick for try­ing to stay away from every­thing in the public eye. It’s not how I want to live my life. It’s not some­thing I ever want to do again. I don’t wish it on any­body. It’s the first time I’ve ever been in­side a prison.”

He said it was “a mas­sive priv­i­lege to play for the club [United], never mind to be a cap­tain” but his fu­ture with the arm­band is “ob­vi­ously not my de­ci­sion to make”.

He added: “I have great faith in the Greek law. The re­trial will give us more time to pre­pare, gather the ev­i­dence, al­low wit­nesses into the court, and I’m re­ally con­fi­dent that the truth will be told and come out.”

Mean­while, Wayne Rooney yes­ter­day de­fended Maguire’s char­ac­ter, and also re­vealed he had only hired pri­vate se­cu­rity once dur­ing his ca­reer.

Pride: Harry Maguire says he is proud to play for Manch­ester United but does not know if he will re­main as club cap­tain

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