A WOMAN has claimed the father of England footballers Gary and Phil Neville sexually assaulted her in her car and told her: “I like the chase.”
The alleged victim said Neville Neville, 63, drunkenly forced himself upon her after she gave him a lift home following a night out in his home town of Bury, Greater Manchester.
The middle-aged woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, alleges that Neville molested her. But a jury at Bolton Crown Court heard the defendant later told police that the sexual encounter was consensual and progressed after they shared a “passionate” kiss as he went to leave the vehicle.
His sons sat in the public gallery as the case against their father was outlined by Crown prosecutor Peter Cadwallader.
The alleged incident took place in the early hours of 23 March when the woman offered Neville a lift home because of the snowy weather, she said in a video of her police interview which was played to the jury of eight women and four men.
She thought she was doing him a favour but now felt he had “abused that kindness”. She said: “I feel cheap. I have never been made to feel like that in my life.”
Describing the moments before the alleged sexual assault, she said Neville told her to pull over. “He said ‘Turn the engine off’ and I just did it. He took his seatbelt off. I didn’t take mine off.” She then spoke of how he “pounded” on her.
“He forced his head on me,” she said. “It was a really forceful kiss. His tongue, like, forced down my throat. I had never been in a situation like that, especially with someone I knew.”
She said she initially thought she would be blamed for what had happened for not pushing him off. “I just froze,” she said, “My whole body froze. I could not speak. I just panicked. Normally I am a confident person but I just froze.
“He forced himself on me totally. His hand up the side of my shirt, inside my bra. He grabbed hold of me but at the same time forcing me down with his face. He is a very, very big man. That was stopping me moving.”
“I said ‘Stop what you are doing’. I didn’t say ‘No’. I said ‘You are a married man, are you not happy?’ and he said ‘I’m very happy’. I said ‘What are you doing?’ and he said ‘I like the chase’.”
The alleged victim told the interviewer that she tried to rationalise with Neville. She said he then got out of the car.
“I just remember him standing up, getting out of the car and me pressing the button to lock the door, and I just drove off.
“I sobbed all the way home. Just shocked. I didn’t know what to do. I thought that it was my fault because I didn’t push him off me. I thought no-one would believe me. He is an upstanding member of the community.”
She said she could tell Neville was drunk but “not bladdered”.
The woman – who said she feared she was going to be raped – told the police interviewer she now felt angry after her initial thoughts of guilt.
Opening the case, Mr Cadwallader said Neville did not deny the incident took place but told detectives it was consensual. He said he had leaned across to give a parting farewell kiss and it turned into a “passionate, consensual” kiss.
“He accepted what she said had physically happened did happen, save for that it was all with consent,” Mr Cadwallader told the jury. “The Crown say it was not consensual and he knew full well it was not consensual because she told him so.”
The trial continues.