The ex-Manchester City and France fullback Benjamin Mendy has been cleared of rape and attempted rape accusations, which his accusers alleged were committed as his £4 million mansion.
He was cleared after three hours of deliberation by a jury at Chester Crown Court on Friday afternoon – and broke down in the dock afterwards before admitting he was “delighted” with the not guilty verdicts.
Mendy, 28, had faced a retrial on one count of rape and one count of attempted rape during lockdown-busting parties. He is now a free man but without a club after his Manchester City contract expired at the end of June and having played his last game for the Premier League champions in August 2021.
The French international fullback was already cleared of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault after a court case in January.
Mendy wept when he was cleared. His lawyers said he would now “rebuild his life” – and a return to top flight football is now likely. The emotional star declined to comment outside court only to say: “Alhamdulillah” – an Arabic phrase meaning: “Praise be to God”.
Jenny Wiltshire, Head of Serious & General Crime at Hickman & Rose said:
“Benjamin Mendy would like to thank the members of the jury for focussing on the evidence in this trial, rather than on the rumour and innuendo that have followed this case from the outset. This is the second time that Mr Mendy has been tried and found not guilty by a jury. He is delighted that both juries reached the correct verdicts.
“It has been almost three years since the police started investigating this matter. Mr Mendy has tried to remain strong but the process has, inevitably had a serious impact on him. He thanks everyone who has supported him throughout this ordeal and now asks for privacy so he can begin rebuilding his life.”
The French international denied being a “sexual predator” and carrying out the two sex assaults. He was acquitted was following a three-week trial at Chester Crown Court
Mendy, whose contract with the Premier League champions ended on July 1, was cleared of attempting to rape a woman, aged 29 at the time, at his £4 million mansion in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire in October 2018.
He was also found not guilty of the rape of a second woman, aged 24, two years later also at his home address. Mendy first met the first alleged victim at a nightclub in Barcelona in October 2017 when she became “intimate” with his friend Diacko Fofana, another French footballer.
The woman kept in touch with Fofana and arranged to meet up with him at Mendy’s mansion a year later. The three went clubbing in Manchester with the woman staying over with Fofana in a spare bedroom at the property that night.
Mendy, who she claimed had a “predatory look on his face”, walked into her bedroom the next morning ‘aroused’ and wearing just his boxer as she took a shower.
The woman claimed Mendy then tied to rape her on bed after she repeatedly told him “arrêter” (“stop” in French), before she was able to struggle free. She told the jury the was left “shocked” and confused by her ordeal and after fleeing the mansion she messaged a friend saying she had been ‘sexually abused’ by Mendy.
But Mendy claimed the woman had “flirted” with him prior to the incident and there was only consensual sexual touching between them. “At no point was I forceful or dragged her to the bed,” he said. He claimed the woman only became “upset” when he told her that Fofana had given him permission to have sex with her.
Mendy met the second woman while she was out with friends at a bar in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, in October 2020. The group went back to Mendy’s home, where he took the woman’s phone and accused her of taking photo that could be posted on social media, potentially getting him into further trouble after he was fined for breaking Covid rules over a previous party at his home.
Mendy was said to have looked at “intimate” photos of the woman and when she followed him to get her phone back he led her into his bedroom, which had security door that locked behind her and was operated using a password.
He allegedly told the woman to strip if she wanted her phone back before throwing it on the bed. The woman, who was left wearing only a thong, told the jury that Mendy got behind her as she went to retrieve he phone and raped her despite her repeatedly telling him that she didn’t want to have sex.
It only stopped when she managed to sit up on the bed, she said, when Mendy accused her of being ‘too shy’ and boasted: ‘It’s fine, I’ve had sex with 10,000 women.
Mendy claimed the woman was happy to go to his bedroom where they had consensual oral sex. Although she hadn’t wanted further sex, he said, she agreed they could ‘play around’ and have further sexual contact and he hadn’t ‘forced’ her before it stopped.
Benjamin Aina KC, prosecuting, told the jury that Mendy’s “wealth” and “position in society” meant he was used to women saying “yes” to his sexual advances and “no wasn’t an option”.
Mendy had an “appetite for sex, appetite for control”, he said, and “didn’t care” for the feelings or views of woman unless they matched his own.
“What Mr Mendy wants, Mr Mendy gets,” he told the jury.
Eleanor Laws KC, defending, told the jury that Mendy wasn’t a sexual predator and “moral judgments” about his lifestyle, which involved partying and casual sex with lots of different women, should be put to one side.
She said the jury had heard no evidence that he was “controlling, violent and ‘what Mr Mendy wants, Mr Mendy gets’ and he doesn’t care about consent.”
Ms Laws said the women’s accounts of what happened contained “lies, inconsistencies and very strange things”.
She claimed Mendy had not tried to rape the first woman while the second woman had ‘talked herself’ into believing she had been raped after regretting being pressured into having sex with him. It was the second trial Mendy has faced accused of sex attacks.
The footballer was found not guilty of six rapes and one sexual assault against four women by a jury at an earlier trial, which ended in January, and cleared of one count of rape against another woman on the direction of the judge.
At that trial, Mendy was acquitted of raping the second woman twice during the same incident at his home. But the jury in the first trial was unable to reach verdicts on the two allegations he faced at his retrial.
In total, he has now been acquitted of eight rapes, one attempted rape, and one sexual assault against seven women following two trials.
- A Daily Mail report