Football

'I Feared For My Life' - Harry Maguire Breaks His Silence Following Recent Convictions

'I Feared For My Life' - Harry Maguire Breaks His Silence Following Recent Convictions

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire said he feared for his life when Greek police arrested him last week as he thought he was being kidnapped.

During an exclusive interview with the BBC, the England international told Dan Roan that plain-clothed police officers pulled over his group's minibus in Mykonos, threw him off the bus, hit him on his legs and told him his career was over.

Maguire was on holiday with his fiancee Fern, his younger sister Daisy, his brother, his brother's girlfriend, and two friends and their girlfriends.

Earlier this week, the England defender was given a suspended sentence of 21 months and 10 days in prison after his trial on the Greek island of Syros.

Maguire was found guilty of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult after arrest on Mykonos.

He's appealing the verdict and has consistently denied all charges.

During the interview, Maguire broke down and sobbed while saying that hearing the guilty verdict was "horrible" and that he "couldn't quite believe it".

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"I don't feel I owe an apology to anybody. An apology is something when you have done something wrong. I don't wish it on anybody. Obviously the situation has made it difficult for one of the biggest clubs in the world, so I regret putting the fans and the club through this, but I did nothing wrong. I found myself in a situation where it could have happened to anybody and anywhere."

When asked about the alleged attack on his legs, Maguire said:

"They hit me a lot on the legs. It wasn't on my mind. I was in that much of a panic. Fear. Scared for my life. I know what happened that night. I know the truth. When I speak about it I get worked up but that's because it just makes me feel a bit angry inside. I will move on. I am mentally strong enough.

"We got down on our knees, put our hands in the air. And they just started hitting us. They got one of my hands in the handcuff. They were hitting my legs, saying my career's over - 'no more football; you won't play again'. "At this point I thought there's no chance these are police. I've no idea who they are.

"So I tried to run away. I had one hand in the handcuff - I was moving my hand. This is where the charges have come from - this is what they are saying is resisting arrest and this is what the assault is - no punches have been thrown. I didn't believe they were the police."

The Greek police deny this version of events and said that Maguire, his brother and friend had physically and verbally attacked police officers.

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When asked by Roan if he physically abused the police, Maguire said:

"From their statement, I am pretty sure they said I hurt a policeman's back and arm. I had the hand in the air, handcuffed, when I tried running away, I didn't realise they were police at the time and thought I was getting kidnapped. I don't think I hurt him. Put it this way: I didn't hurt him as much as they hurt me."

The Manchester United defender categorically denies any allegations that he attempted to bribe the officers too.

"No, for sure. 'Do you know who I am?' I knew they knew who I was. Five minutes before they were beating me up saying my career is over, so I knew they knew who I was. As soon as I saw that statement... just ridiculous. There was definitely no bribe involved. At that moment we were sat in the entrance of the prison, we were so distraught, we were crying. We still didn't believe where we were," he said.

Despite being convicted of the charges, Maguire said that he has "great faith in the Greek law" and that "the retrial rule will give us more time to prepare, gather the evidence, allow witnesses into the court, and I am really confident the truth will be told and come out."

At this point, Roan asked Maguire is he accepts the risks of being a high-profile person that may have been "asking for trouble being in that place that night" and that alcohol may have been a contributing factor to his behaviour that night?

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Maguire replied by saying:

"No. I think it could have happened anywhere. I love Greece; I love the people there. I have been to six, seven, eight Greek islands. I go most years on my time off. Me and my family love Greece. I don't feel like I would have done anything different in terms of regret going to Mykonos. I have been before and had a great time.

"I think us footballers get a bit of stick for trying to stay away from everything and the public eye. It's not how I want to live my life. I've always been really open. I was away with my family in couples. If someone wanted a picture, they could have a picture or something signed. It's probably changed my mind on that."

When asked if he was drunk, the 27-year-old stated:

"I'm not going to sit here and say I didn't have a drink all day. I had a few drinks. Anyone who knows me who has been out with me knows how I am after I have a few drinks. I am always aware; I always stay in control. I definitely wasn't drunk. I knew what was going off. I just found myself in a bad situation."

Maguire concluded the interview by saying: "I am strong mentally and I will get over this. My conscience is clear. I know exactly what happened that night.

Manchester United recently confirmed that their captain is free to travel internationally.

A statement from United read:

"An appeal against yesterday's verdict was lodged this morning by Harry's legal team. In accordance with the Greek judicial process, the filing of an appeal extinguishes the initial court verdict and nullifies the conviction.

"The appeal has been accepted and will lead to a full retrial in a more senior court. This means that Harry has no criminal record and is once again presumed innocent until proven guilty. Accordingly, he is not subject to any international travel restrictions."

The defender was withdrawn from England's squad for next month's Nations League matches after initially being found guilty of all the charges.

The full interview can be found here.

SEE ALSO: Harry Maguire Found Guilty Of Aggravated Assault, Resisting Arrest, And Attempted Bribery

Paul Moore

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