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’
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