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Neville Neville describes moment he dropped infidelity 'bombshell' on his family
4:07pm Wednesday 18th December 2013 in News
Former England footballer Phil Neville, from Bury, "erupted" when his father told him he had cheated on his mother, a court has heard.
Neville Neville, aged 64, made the confession after his arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in her car near his home.
The complainant has told a jury at Bolton Crown Court that the defendant forced himself upon her after she gave him a lift home following a night out in his home town of Bury in the early hours of March 23.
Neville claims the sexual encounter was consensual and denies the offence.
Giving evidence on Wednesday, Neville described how he told his family about the incident following his arrest.
After telling his wife at the police station, they drove home, where Phil and his sister, Tracey, a netball international, were waiting.
Neville's barrister, Orlando Pownall QC, asked: "What did Philip say?"
Neville replied: "He erupted, basically. He said 'You have got the most loveliest wife ever'. He said 'She loved you to death'. I was crying at this stage.
"Tracey had obviously broken down.
"He (Phil) turned round to me and said 'I'm not going to ask if you sexually assaulted her, I know you would not do that.'
"I said 'Philip, I did not sexually assault that woman.'
"He said 'Stop crying then, pull yourself together, get in there (the kitchen), you have got some explaining to do with Mum'."
Manchester United coaching staff member Phil Neville and his fellow England international footballing brother, Gary, sat in the public gallery as their father gave evidence in his defence.
Neville voluntarily went to his local police station on the afternoon of March 24 and gave his version of events without asking for a solicitor.
He told the court that he initially thought the police wanted to speak to him about a recent incident where he said he had nearly knocked down a boy while driving.
At the end of the interview, when he was told about the nature of the complaint, he requested a phone call to his wife, Jill.
He told the jury, his voice breaking: "I'm going to drop the biggest bombshell ever on my family.
"I thought basically I have not sexually assaulted anybody, I don't need a solicitor. I said I want to speak to my wife because I knew she would be worried.
"I was worried as well that I was going to drop the biggest bombshell of her life on top of her."
His barrister asked him: "Did it cross your mind to say nothing?"
He said: "Never."
Mr Pownall asked: "Did it cross your mind to deny it and avoid upset for your family?"
Neville replied: "No."
His barrister continued: "How easy was it to tell the truth?"
The defendant said: "It was very easy to tell the truth."
Mr Pownall asked: "How hard was it, knowing about the bombshell you have described?"
Neville said: "It was hard."
His barrister asked: "When did that bomb explode?"
He answered: "With my wife on the car park of the police station."
He recalled a conversation with the interviewing detective constable after the tapes had been switched off for his interview.
"He said 'Look, you have more or less told the same story. It's 50-50, either you have lied or she has lied, it's as simple as that'.
"I turned round and said 'I'm ruined, I have ruined my family's life and my life here'."
He said another officer told him: "Thousands of people commit infidelity and get over it."
Neville said he replied: "Do you want to come home with me and tell my wife that?"
He then told the jury how he told his wife about the allegation.
"We got in the car and she said 'What has happened?' and I said 'I have been accused of sexual assault'," he said.
"She said 'Who with?...Do I know her?'.
"I said 'I don't think you do'. She said 'Did you have sex with her?'. I actually said yes, we did have a sexual encounter and she just broke down.
"She said 'Where did you do it?' and I said 'At the end of our road'. That made her more upset."
He said his wife "stormed" into the kitchen when they entered the house as he explained the situation to his son and daughter.
Mr Pownall asked if he had since had a conversation with his wife in which she had asked a particular question that he would never forget.
Neville, who was wearing his wedding ring in court, replied: "She asked why did I do it?
"First I said I didn't know. I was in a state. I told her everything from start to finish, I told her everything but she couldn't understand why I had done this.
"I said 'I have let you down, I have let you down so badly, it's hard to explain why.'
"She turned round and said 'Did you enjoy it?' and I said 'Yes, I did'.
"She then said... I won't swear...'That's the bleeding reason why you did it'."
Mr Pownall said: "The suggestion is that you pounded on (the alleged victim) in the circumstances she has described, clearly against her will. Is that something you would have enjoyed or ever have done?"
"No," said Neville. "I'm not an aggressive person, I'm not, honestly. I have never pounded on a girl."
Mr Pownall continued: "Did you have reason to believe that the activity that each of you has described was against her will?"
"No," replied Neville.
In her evidence, the alleged victim claimed that Neville lunged at her and thrust his tongue down her throat before putting his hand up her shirt and grabbing her breast.
The middle-aged woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, alleges that Neville then placed his hand down her trousers and sexually assaulted her.