Greek prosecution lawyer Ioannis Paradissis says he is “scared” after receiving hate mail from angry fans following last week’s incident in Mykonos, involving Harry Maguire. which led to Manchester United captain’s conviction for assault and bribery.
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The Man Utd and England defender, 27, was found guilty by a Greek court on Tuesday and handed a suspended 21-month prison sentence but has subsequently lodged an appeal, which nullifies the verdict and means Maguire has no criminal record ahead of a full retrial.
Paradissis, who was the lawyer for two of the officers in the case, has faced blame from a number of fans, while he has received hate mail as short as “fuck you” but he says the messages have become increasingly threatening.
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“When I got the first emails I couldn’t quite believe it,” the lawyer told The Guardian. “It caught me off guard.”
“We all know … you are a disgusting country full of disgusting people,” read one email. “It is clear to many observers that this was a staged effort to punish a well-known footballer from a foreign country just for the sake of bitterness, jealously or simply bigoted hatred,” were the words in another, while a third said: “Well done! There goes your economy. Your people are going to thank you BIG time.”
Paradissis added: “I’ve had messages saying I will soon be without a job and others accusing us all of corruption. It’s almost as if the entire justice system, and Greece itself, have been put on trial. It’s been taken out of all proportion. Honestly, I’m scared.”
Maguire spoke to the BBC on Thursday about the incident, saying he was “scared for his life” and was concerned he and his family and friends were being kidnapped.
On Friday he tweeted: “Thanks for everyone’s support over the last week, I’m pleased to have had my say and share the true version of events. Looking forward to getting on with life now and the season ahead with @ManUtd and @England.”
He told BBC Sport: “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 claimed that incident took place outside a police station after he attempted to take his younger sister Daisy to a hospital because she appeared to be losing consciousness having been approached by two men.
The 27-year-old denied attempting to bribe the police.
When asked about that, he replied: “No, for sure. As soon as I saw that statement, it’s just ridiculous.”
Maguire was initially selected in England’s squad for the Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark next month, but within hours had been withdrawn by manager Gareth Southgate following the initial guilty verdict of the court on the island of Syros.
Paradissis said earlier this week that an apology might help Maguire’s appeal, and said it was “shocking” that one had not already been issued.
However, Maguire told the BBC: “I don’t feel like I owe an apology to anybody. An apology is something when you’ve done something wrong or regret.”
He did say he regretted putting Man Utd and their fans through this episode, although all the indications are that he has the club’s support and will remain as captain.