Manchester United defender Harry Maguire has said that he feared for his life during his arrest in Mykonos, Greece earlier this week.
Harry Maguire denied all charge but was handed a 21-month prison sentence, suspended for three years, after being found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and repeated attempts of bribery in a Greek court on Tuesday.
“I thought we were getting kidnapped.”
The England defender filed an appeal against his conviction, and Manchester United said on Wednesday that Maguire no longer had a criminal record. He is free to travel internationally, while he awaits a full re-trial in a more senior court.
In his first interview since the incident a visibly shaken Maguire spoke to BBC Sport;
“My initial thought, I thought we were getting kidnapped.
“We got down on our knees, we put our hands in the air, they just started hitting us.
“They were hitting my leg, saying my career’s over: No more football. You won’t play again.
“And at this point I thought there is no chance these are police or I don’t know who they are 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’.”
The 27-year-old was picked in Gareth Southgate’s England squad however he was dropped after initially being convicted.
Maguire continued outlining that he doesn’t feel he owes anyone an apology but did explain his regret over the situation.
“It was horrible. 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.
“I don’t feel like I owe an apology to anybody. An apology is something when you’ve done something wrong or regret.
“I regret being in the situation. I play for one of the biggest clubs in the world, I regret putting the fans and the club through this.
“I think it could have happened anywhere. I love Greece, I think us footballers get a bit of stick for trying to stay away from everything. It’s not how I want to live my life.”
Maguire still captain
Maguire has seen his club, Manchester United, stick by him and he remains the club’s captain.
“It’s a massive privilege to play for Manchester United and be captain but obviously it’s not my decision to make,” Maguire said.
“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 the truth will be told and come out.”