Ryan Giggs is “deeply relieved” that domestic abuse charges against him have been dropped after his former partner declined to give evidence, his barrister has said.

The former Manchester United footballer, 49, had been due to go on trial on 31 July charged with coercive or controlling behaviour against his former partner Kate Greville and assaulting her sister.

However, prosecutors told Manchester crown court on Tuesday that they would not be pursuing the case and he was formally found not guilty.

Jurors were unable to reach verdicts in his first trial last August.

Peter Wright KC, prosecuting, told the court that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had decided to drop the domestic abuse charge because Greville, 38, did not want to give evidence again.

He said “the welfare of complainants are at the very centre of the decision-making process” when prosecutors decide whether to pursue a case to trial.

In this case, he said, Greville and her sister Emma gave evidence last year over a number of days in a trial with “considerable media interest”.

“It is a case that has taken its toll on them both but in particular on Miss Kate Greville,” he told Judge Hilary Manley.

Wright said the CPS had considered pursuing the charge without Greville’s cooperation, including by issuing a witness summons that would have compelled her to give evidence.

However, he said the prosecution did not consider this to be appropriate and therefore the CPS had decided “there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction” on the domestic abuse charge.

Wright said a review of the other two charges – of assault against Greville and her sister – had been considered at “the highest levels within the CPS” and had been decided that it was no longer in the public interest to seek a conviction.

“We formally offer no evidence on counts one, two and three on this indictment,” he said.

Judge Manley replied: “I formally enter not guilty verdicts in respect of each of the three counts.”

Chris Daw KC, representing Giggs, said the former footballer was “deeply relieved that the prosecution has finally come to an end” two and a half years after he was first arrested.

Daw said Giggs – who was not in court for the short hearing – had been “fighting to clear his name” since November 2020.

He said: “The position is that he has always been innocent of these charges and there have been very many lies told about him.

“He has now been found not guilty of all these charges and going forward will seek to rebuild his life and career as an innocent man.”

Giggs, the most decorated footballer of his generation in the English game, has been on police bail since he was arrested on 1 November 2020.

He has consistently denied controlling or coercive behaviour towards Greville over a three-year period between August 2017 and November 2020.

He also denied assaulting Greville, causing actual bodily harm, and the common assault of her sister Emma on 1 November 2020.

During Giggs’s time at Old Trafford, Manchester United won 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League trophies, four FA Cups and three League Cups.

Giggs stood down as manager of the Wales national team in 2022 after a period of leave since November 2020. He won 64 caps for Wales and is a co-owner of the League Two side Salford.