Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy has been found not guilty of raping four women and sexually assaulting another during lockdown holidays at his Cheshire mansion.
The former France international sank with his head in his hands as he was unanimously acquitted of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault after a five-month trial at Chester Crown Court.
However, the 28-year-old will face a second trial after the jury failed to reach a verdict on charges of raping one woman and attempting to rape another.
Mendy, who appeared close to tears in the dock, had told his trial that the women who accused him of rape had wanted to have sex with him. He denied groping the woman he claimed sexually assaulted him in his kitchen.
He had been charged with seven counts of rape against four women, one count of attempted rape against a fifth woman and another count of sexual assault against a sixth woman after he was arrested on November 11, 2020.
The jury was discharged Friday after deliberating for more than 60 hours over 14 days.
Mendy’s co-accused Louis Saha Matturie, who had been described as Mendy’s “fixer”, broke down in tears as he was found not guilty of three counts of rape against two women.
The jury was unable to reach verdicts on six other charges against the 41-year-old man, four alleged rapes against three women and the alleged sexual assault of two women.
Mendy told his trial that it was “normal” that he slept with many different women, sometimes on the same night as they had sex with their friends.
Being a famous footballer made it “honestly, so easy” to pick up women from nightclubs and take them to his home near the Cheshire village of Prestbury, he said.
The six women had accused him of assaulting them in his £4.8m gated mansion between October 2018 and August 2021, often at illegal parties held during Covid lockdowns .
The parties were fueled by alcohol and nitrous oxide balloons and often involved guests stripping in Mendy’s pool. People had sex in rooms throughout the house, sometimes swapping partners.
One woman was just 17 when she claimed she was raped on the same night by Mendy and his “fixer”, Matturie, known as Saha. The men were cleared of four counts of rape related to her.
The prosecution said Matturie’s job was to “procure” attractive young women for Mendy and bring them back to his home, called The Spinney.
Several weeks into the trial, the judge ordered the jury to find both Mendy and Matturie not guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman, after a video surfaced showing him having “enthusiastic and obviously consensual sex” with Matturie.
Mendy’s defense team used this dropped charge to plant doubt in the minds of the jury, suggesting that if one woman had lied, couldn’t the others have also made up their allegations?
“What you have actually seen with your own eyes in this case is, I hesitate to use the word, a real-life liar,” Eleanor Laws KC said in her closing address to the jury.
“Someone who has made serious criminal allegations against two men. And you’ve seen it play out, unusually, right before your eyes. Because when does a defendant ever have a film to prove his innocence? Hardly ever.”
Giving evidence in court, Mendy said being in prison while in prison had made him “learn a lot about life”. He said he reflected on his behavior while sitting in his cell, and only then did he realize it was possible to “hurt” women’s feelings even “if we were both okay with having sex.” The way he had sometimes talked about women was “disrespectful,” she realized.
A statement from Mendy’s club said: “Manchester City FC take note of the verdict at Chester Crown Court today in which a jury found Benjamin Mendy not guilty of seven charges.
“The jury is hung on two counts and the trial is over.
“As there are open matters relating to this case, the club is not in a position to comment further at this time.”