Benjamin Mendy found not guilty of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault
| Last updated
Benjamin Mendy has been been found not guilty of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault following a six-month trial at Chester Crown Court.
The Manchester City defender Mendy and his co-accused, Louis Saha Matturie, have been on trial since 10 August, accused of multiple sex offences. Both men denied all offences.
Prosecutors claimed 28-year-old Mendy was a sexual 'predator' of young women, who were raped or sexually assaulted during post-nightclubbing after parties at his £4.7m home, near Prestbury in Cheshire.
Matturie was alleged to have been the footballer's friend and 'fixer', who arranged for women to attend the parties after nights spent drinking in VIP lounges at Manchester nightclubs.
13 women had accused the defendants of sexual offences.
Mendy told the jury he now regretted his partying lifestyle, but denied ever forcing any woman into sex. Matturie did not go into the witness box, but also denied any wrongdoing.
Mendy denied seven counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of sexual assault against six young women.
Matturie, of Eccles, Salford, denied six counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault relating to seven young women.
Mendy could be seen gently rocking back and forth as the jury foreman delivered the verdicts on Wednesday (11 January), repeating 'not guilty' to six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault relating to four young women or teenagers.
Jurors in the case could not reach verdicts for Mendy on one count of rape and one of attempted rape for two other women. Any decision on a re-trial on those outstanding charges is pending.
Matturie 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.
Part way through the trial, the judge ordered the jury to find the defendants not guilty on all charges relating to one of the women, after a 'sex video' emerged of her having 'willing' sex with Matturie at a time she claimed he had raped her.
Giving the prosecution's closing speech, Timothy Cray KC had told the jury: "For all the good side of Benjamin Mendy's character, there's this dangerous streak which makes him a predatory serial rapist.
"We all know that celebrity is absolutely no guarantee of true good character is it?
"In fact, celebrity in general is really good cover for people to hide the dark side of your life and get away with it.
"Jimmy Savile fooled the whole nation with his celebrity."
In the closing speech for the defence, Eleanor Laws KC said the Savile comparison was 'utterly ridiculous'.
"He's not the kind of character to deliberately harm anyone under any circumstances," she told the jury.
"If you are not sure he's a predatory monster, he's entitled to acquittal. It is one word against another.
"His life as he knew it is over, in football, in the UK – these accusations, he will never escape. Look up Ched Evans, men who have been falsely accused, they never escape them.
"Look up what's happened since. Please just focus on the evidence and if you are not sure about these counts, please use common sense and bring an end to this absolute hell."
Featured Image Credit: Mark Pain/Alamy PA/Alamy
Topics: Sport, Football, Manchester City, UK News, Crime