Nicky Butt in court on wife assault charge

Former Manchester United midielder Nicky Butt has appeared in court charged with assaulting his estranged wife.

The 44-year-old was held by police in April following reports that a woman had been assaulted at an address in Hale, Greater Manchester.

On Wednesday, he attended Manchester Magistrates' Court for a brief hearing in which he pleaded not guilty to the assault by beating of Shelley Butt, who has reverted to her maiden name, Shelley Barlow.

He also denied causing £800 of criminal damage to an Apple iPhone 7 belonging to Ms Barlow.

Both offences are said to have taken place on April 16.

Manchester Court's
Nicky Butt was granted bail at Manchester Magistrates' Court (Jonathan Pow/PA)

Greater Manchester Police previously said they were called to a property in Broadway, Hale, on April 16 and that a woman had suffered a small cut to her hand which did not require hospital treatment.

Lisa Roberts QC, representing Butt, who is head of coaching at the Manchester United youth academy, said it would be her client's case that he did not know how the complainant came about any injury, and that the damage to the phone was accidental after it was thrust into his face.

A trial date of February 27 was set to be heard at the same court and is scheduled to last two days.

A pre-trial review will take place on January 9.

Butt, of Park Road, Bowdon, Altrincham, was granted bail and was told he did not need to attend court on January 9 but was that he would be committing a bail offence if he was absent at his trial.

Butt won a string of Premier League titles in his playing career at Old Trafford and also played in the club's dramatic last-gasp 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the 1999 Uefa Champions League final.

Following his arrest in April, it was reported that, months earlier, he had separated from his wife of 11 years with whom he has two children.

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