A visibly shaken Harry Maguire has claimed being “scared for his life” and believed he was being kidnapped during the incident outside a bar in Mykonos that led to the Manchester United captain’s arrest and conviction for assaulting a police officer, swearing, resisting arrest and attempted bribery last week.
Despite denying all charges Maguire was sentenced to 21 months and 10 days by a court on neighbouring Greek island, Syros, which was suspended. The 27-year-old immediately launched an appeal and, close to tears, spoke publicly for the first time about the episode on Thursday evening on the BBC News at Ten.
“I don’t feel I owe an apology to anybody. An apology is something when you have done something wrong,” Maguire said. “I regret putting the fans and club through this, but I did nothing wrong. It was horrible, not something I would want to do again. I don’t wish it on anybody. It’s the first time I’ve been inside a prison.”
The reference to an apology came after the prosecution lawyer, Ioannis Paradissis, stated on Wednesday that if Maguire was to say sorry this might “pave the way for “a different sentiment” to prevail when his appeal is heard. Maguire’s defence had claimed during Saturday’s hearing that his younger sister, Daisy, had been injected with a substance.
He reiterated this claim: “These two men approached my little sister, asked her where she was from, She responded and then my fiancee, Fern, saw my little sister’s eyes going into the back of her head. She was fainting and was in and out of consciousness and …” Maguire said, before breaking down. “Sorry.”
Maguire tried to get his sister to a hospital but instead he and his party were taken to a police station.
“My initial thought was that we were being kidnapped,” he said. “We got down on our knees and put our hands in the air and they just started hitting us. They were hitting my legs saying my career is over. Saying: ‘No more football. You won’t play again’. At this point I thought there was no chance these are police so I tried to run away. I was in that much of a panic, fear. Scared for my life. All the way through it.”
Maguire was asked if he did try to bribe the police. “No, for sure,” he said. “As soon as I saw that statement – [I thought]: ‘It’s just ridiculous’.”
United are supporting him and he remains the captain. “It’s a massive privilege to play for Manchester United and be captain but obviously it’s not my decision to make,” said Maguire. “I have great faith in Greek law that the retrial will give us more time to prepare, gather the evidence and allow witnesses into the court. I’m really confident that the truth will be told and come out.”
Maguire had been out relaxing with family and friends, who included his brother Joe, one of his two co-defendants, who were each sentenced to 13 months – again suspended – when the episode took place. His appeal may take between one to two years to be heard.