NEWS
11/02/2012 03:03 GMT | Updated 12/02/2012 05:28 GMT

Harry Redknapp Criticises CPS Over 'Farcical' Tax Evasion Trial

Harry Redknapp has criticised the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for putting him through a "farcical" tax evasion trial.

The Tottenham manager said the case should never have reached court and described his time in the dock as "horrendous".

The 64-year-old, who is the overwhelming favourite to be the next England manager after Fabio Capello's departure, told reporters that the case was only brought by the CPS because "they thought they had nothing to lose".

Redknapp walked free from Southwark Crown Court, London, on Wednesday following a 13-day trial after jurors accepted his denials of tax dodging on £189,000 in a Monaco account.

His acquittal alongside co-defendant Milan Mandaric marked the end of an £8 million investigation which failed to yield a single conviction.

"It was farcical," said Redknapp in an emotionally charged press conference yesterday.

"It was only (taken to court), as my barrister kept saying, because it was me.

"I was supposed to be saving the chairman a few quid on income tax and he is a man who had paid £100 million in income tax, who at one time employed 40,000 people...

"Four times, we tried to get it thrown out. My barrister was saying 'this should not be going to court', but they (the CPS) wanted to go with it.

"They thought they had nothing to lose.

"It's not their money...that was the attitude they had."

He added: "It was a horrendous period - the most draining thing I have been through in my life."

Redknapp went on to speak about the effect the trial had on his family, claiming his wife of 44 years, Sandra, fell ill because of the case.

"I wouldn't let her come to court, she couldn't have handled it. It would have killed her, without a doubt," Redknapp said.

"It made her ill. It slaughtered her. It knocked her for six.

"Her back's gone. That's the stress of it all. She couldn't move this morning because that's what happens. Your body gets wrecked.

"It has been difficult especially for her. She's soft. She's not a tough lady at all."

He also thanked his football pundit son Jamie, who stood by him throughout the trial.

Redknapp, who has admitted he would consider taking the role of England manager if approached by the FA, said: "Jamie really carried me through it. He was there for me 24 hours a day."

The CPS has defended the decision to charge Redknapp and Mandaric.

A spokesman said: "We concluded that there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution was in the public interest."

After the trial, Chris Martin, of HM Revenue and Customs, said: "We have no regrets about pursuing this case because it was vitally important that the facts were put before a jury for their consideration."