Benjamin Mendy trial: Manchester City star found not guilty of six rapes - retrial set for two charges
The Manchester City star was acquitted for seven sex attack charges, while the jury could not reach a verdict on two other allegations.
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Manchester City star Benjamin Mendy has been cleared of six rape charges and one sexual assault charge, as jurors failed to reach verdicts on two others following a six-month trial.
The Premier League footballer, 28, sitting in the dock at Chester Crown Court, covered his face with both hands, gently rocking back and forth, as the jury foreman delivered the verdicts to a hushed courtroom. He repeated “not guilty” to six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, relating to four young women or teenagers.
The unanimous verdicts were delivered on Wednesday by the seven men and four women on the jury, one juror having been discharged earlier for medical reasons. They could not be reported until jurors concluded considering the remaining two counts, after they were given a majority direction by Judge Steven Everett, meaning he would accept a 10-1 majority on any verdict.
But after 14 days of deliberation, jurors could not reach verdicts on Mendy’s alleged attempted rape of a woman, 29, in 2018 and the rape of another woman, 24, in October 2020. Judge Everett discharged the jury on Friday, ending the trial.
A re-trial for the two outstanding counts - lasting two to three weeks - has been set for June 26. Mendy nodded as he was told by the judge there will be a pre-trial hearing on January 27 and he will go on trial again in June.
A statement from Mendy’s club said: “Manchester City FC notes the verdict from Chester Crown Court today where a jury has found Benjamin Mendy not guilty of seven charges. The jury is hung on two charges and the trial is now over. Given there are open matters related to this case, the club is not in a position to comment further at this time.”
Louis Saha Matturie, 41, his co-accused and alleged “fixer” was found not guilty by the jury of three counts of rape relating to two teenagers.
Jurors also failed to reach verdicts on three counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault against him by five other women. Both had been on trial since August 10, accused of multiple sexual offences by 13 women.
The allegations and trial had been “absolute hell” for Mendy, the court heard, and his life in football “is over” as he would “never escape” the accusations.
Mendy had been accused of being a “predator” who turned the pursuit of women for sex into a game, his trial heard, drinking champagne in VIP areas of Manchester nightclubs before inviting young women into “toxic and dangerous” situations at “after-parties” at his £4.7 million Cheshire mansion in Mottram St Andrew, near Prestbury.
But jurors were also told by defence lawyers that while the trial, involving money, sex and celebrity, had “all the makings of a good drama”, it came with a significant “plot twist” – the accused were innocent. Lockdown-busting parties were held both at Mendy’s home and an apartment he rented on Chapel Street near Manchester city centre, the court heard.
He was first arrested in November 2020 after the alleged triple rape of the 24-year-old woman at his home the previous month. Mendy was released under investigation before he was later accused of sexually assaulting another woman, aged 24, two months later, and while on police bail for that offence, was later accused of the rape of three other women, one aged 17 – all offences of which he was cleared.
Mendy was suspended by his club in August 2021, after he was charged with rape. Timothy Cray KC, prosecuting, said the footballer, a man with money, power and privilege, thought about what was “in his pants” and that was why he got it “terribly wrong” in believing women were consenting to sex.
Lisa Wilding KC, representing Matturie told jurors it was “chillingly easy” to make false allegations and suggested all the women involved, all in some way connected through friendships, social media connections or by attending parties.
Lawyers for both men suggested while the trial began with claims Mendy and Matturie were “predators” and “monsters”, each allegation was “riddled with inconsistencies and flaws”. Jurors were told not to take a “moralistic” approach to the defendants’ sexual lifestyles, and the approach of Cheshire Police was also criticised in court.
Eleanor Laws KC, defending Mendy, suggested “regret” at having “quick, animalistic sex” is not the same as being raped. Mendy had denied seven counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of sexual assault against six young women, between October 2018 and August 2021.
Matturie, of Eccles, Salford, denied six counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault relating to seven young women, between July 2012 and August 2021.