Tearful Gary Neville defends his Dad who is accused of sexual assault
An emotional Gary Neville has gone into the witness box to defend the reputation of his father, who is accused of sexual assault.
The former England footballer and Sky Sports pundit said Neville Neville was a principled man who always told the truth.
He revealed that the soul of his parents' marriage had been "ripped up" as, close to tears, he added that he did not want his mother to be called to give evidence.
Neville, 64, is accused of drunkenly forcing himself upon a middle-aged woman outside his house in Bury, Greater Manchester, after she gave him a lift home in the early hours of March 23.
He denies he was drunk and said the sexual encounter was consensual.
Gary Neville, who has been present at Bolton Crown Court throughout the trial, which started on Monday, was called as a character witness for the defence.
Orlando Pownall QC, defending, asked him: "First of all, have you been in your father's company when he has been drinking?"
"Yes," he replied.
"On many occasions?" asked the barrister.
"Yes," he repeated.
"When in drink, does he become reckless or disinhibited, as alleged," continued Mr Pownall.
"Never," he said.
Mr Pownall asked: "How principled a person is he, in your experience?"
Gary Neville replied: "I could never say a bad word about him.
"He is a human being, he has made mistakes, but nothing like this.
"It is so completely removed from the existence I have had in my life and for the whole of the family.
"We have never had anything like this at all."
Mr Pownall said: "Has he had the opportunity to thrust himself upon younger women over the years?"
Gary Neville replied: "I suppose he could have done if he wanted. I have never thought about it.
"It's something that has never crossed my mind. It would have been ridiculous."
Mr Pownall asked him: "How important is the truth to your father?"
He replied: "He always tells the truth. At times in the last nine months I have known he has been talking to my mum about the graphic details and telling her the warts and all story. I have told him to shut his mouth."
"Why?" asked the barrister.
"Because I was trying to protect mum. There are two issues. A personal issue that is still ongoing and may be ongoing forever. And a legal issue which I have never concerned myself with because I knew he was telling the truth.
"I didn't know if it was going the whole way. I wanted to protect my mum so she would not hear the graphic details and have those thoughts in her head for the rest of her life."
He said that he would go to his parents for tea every week but said they were now "vacant".
"They disappear when they are together," he said. "It's ripped the soul out of the marriage.
"My mum (Jill) stands by him because she believes in him 100%. He has made a big mistake."
Mr Pownall asked: "Is your mum prepared to give evidence if necessary?"
"Yes," he replied.
"Do you want her to give evidence?"
Gary Neville said: "Never."
Close to tears, he replied: "I don't want her in here. I don't want her exposed to it. She has not made the mistake.
"I don't want her to go through any more pain. She is a private person who just works and loves her family. She is around the corner and ready to come in if she needs to.
"She is 100% standing by my dad but we don't want her in here."