Benjamin Mendy, former Manchester City and France star has been cleared of sex offences, in a second trial in the investigations that started almost three years ago.
28-year-old Mendy, who would have faced a lengthy jail term if convicted, on hearing the not guilty verdicts on one count of rape and another of attempted rape verdict from the jury of six men and six women who took around three hours and 15 minutes to reach, wept as he put his head on his knees and wiped away tears. The trial at Chester Crown Court in Northwest England took three weeks.
Mendy, who had previously been cleared in January of six counts of rape and one of sexual assault following a six-month trial, was on this new trial as the jurors in the January trial had been unable to reach a verdict on two other counts resulting in a retrial.
His lawyers in a statement after the verdict said that he was “delighted” to have been acquitted in both trials.
“Benjamin Mendy would like to thank the members of the jury for focusing on the evidence in this trial rather than the rumour and innuendo that has 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 statement said.
The footballer, whose contract with Manchester City expired at the end of June, was accused alongside Louis Saha Matturie, 41, an alleged “fixer”, who was found not guilty by the jury at the January trial of three counts of rape relating to two teenagers.
In that trial, jurors also failed to reach verdicts on three counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault against Matturie by five other women. He faces a separate retrial later this year.
The prosecution had alleged that Mendy was a sexual “predator” who raped or sexually assaulted young women procured by Matturie at parties at his luxury home south of Manchester. But the footballer had always denied ever forcing any woman into sex and both said any sexual activity they had with women was consensual.
Mendy was a record signing for a defender when he moved from French club Monaco in 2017 to Manchester City and played for City 75 times. In the last years, his playing time was limited by injuries and a loss of form. These and the trial made him he missed Manchester City’s treble last season.