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Alleged victim denies being impressed by Neville status

A woman who says she was sexually assaulted by the father of former Manchester United footballers Gary and Phil Neville has denied his celebrity status.

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.

A jury at Bolton Crown Court has heard that Mr Neville claims the encounter was consensual after they shared a "passionate" kiss as he went to leave her car.

The incident took place in the early hours of March 23 when the middle-aged woman offered Mr Neville a lift because of the snowy weather.

Giving evidence, the woman, who is a Manchester United supporter, said she knew the defendant but not on a personal level.

Orlando Pownall QC, cross-examining, suggested to her that, like it or not, his client was "a bit of a celebrity in the area".

"His children are well-known and as a result he is well-known," he said to her.

She replied: "He is not a celebrity.

"I just said he is an upstanding member of the community because of what he had done for Bury Football Club. He saved Bury Football Club. That to me was good."

She said she agreed that what happened was unexpected and that neither had been flirtatious beforehand.

Mr Pownall said: "Mr  Neville does not have a reputation for lunging at women, does he?"

The witness said: "Neither did Stuart Hall."

The barrister said as she had mentioned Hall, he noted that not one person had come forward to make a similar complaint as a result of the publicity of his client's arrest.

"Do you blame them? Look at this," she said, gesturing around the courtroom.

"Look at what am I going through. People are frightened, I am so frightened. I am telling the truth."

Mr Neville denies sexual assault.

The trial continues.

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