Footballer Benjamin Mendy was found not guilty of rape and attempted rape on Friday July 14, 2023 by an English court.
Six months after he was found not guilty of six rapes and a sexual assault, footballer Benjamin Mendy was again acquitted by British justice on Friday July 14, 2023. Since the end of June, he has been stood trial on two charges on which the jury had not returned a verdict in January, during his first trial for the case. These two charges came from a 24-year-old woman for a rape dating back to October 2020 and a second 29-year-old woman for an attempted rape in 2018. The footballer then vigorously contested these facts.
During the hearing, prosecutor Benjamin Aina indicated that Benjamin Mendy was a man "whose notoriety and wealth mean that he is not used to women saying no to him", reports Le Monde. To which he replied that he would "never" force a woman. After three hours of deliberation, the jury in Chester, North West England, delivered their verdict acquitting the footballer.
If the player did not speak after the verdict, his lawyer expressed his satisfaction. “My client Benjamin Mendy would like to thank the members of the jury for their dedication and commitment. He also thanks all those who supported him, and in particular the witnesses who testified in his favor in the face of such intense publicity. look forward to clearing his name of the other two counts so that he can begin to rebuild his life. Until the completion of these proceedings, neither I nor my client are in a position to comment further."
As a reminder, ten charges weighed on the footballer who pleaded not guilty for each of them: eight charges of rape, one for attempted rape and one for sexual assault. The alleged facts would have taken place between October 2018 and August 2021 in the mansion of Benjamin Mendy, located forty-five minutes from Manchester, the club for which he played at the time.
Benjamin Mendy appeared alongside another man, Louis Saha Matturie, who was found not guilty of three rapes after the jury failed to reach a verdict on six other counts against him. Saha Matturie's retrial will take place from September 18 with a pre-trial scheduled for March 24. In detention for several months, the future of Benjamin Mendy could be exercised outside the prison...
'Woman One', 'Woman Two', 'Woman Three', 'Woman Four', 'Woman Six', 'Woman Seven' and 'Woman Ten' are the names used by the English courts to maintain the anonymity of individuals.
As soon as the verdict was announced, the Manchester City club published a press release, taking care to comment excessively on this decision. "Manchester City FC take note of today's verdict at Chester Crown Court in which a jury found Benjamin Mendy not guilty on seven counts. The jury is adjourned on two counts and the trial is now closed. As there are open issues related to this matter, the Club is unable to comment further at this time."
The charges against Benjamin Mendy became known in August 2021. At the time, the footballer will first be charged with four rapes and one sexual assault by three people. Seven plaintiffs will finally make themselves known. After the first charges, the Manchester player was remanded in custody and imprisoned in Altcourse prison, near Liverpool. Due to his notoriety and a high rate of assaults in this establishment, the footballer was subsequently transferred to Strangeways prison in December 2021.
Released on bail in January 2022, Benjamin Mendy has since been subject to judicial review: his passport has been withdrawn and he must report to the police station daily.
Prosecutor Timothy Cray detailed the charges against the footballer and against Louis Saha on Monday August 15, 2022 at the start of the trial. He presented the two men as "predators ready to commit serious sexual abuse", according to France info. The seven alleged victims of Benjamin Mendy were described by the prosecutor as "vulnerable, terrified and isolated" women.
Louis Saha Matturie, co-defendant in this trial, was presented as a "beater". He was responsible for "finding young women and creating situations where they could be raped and sexually assaulted", also detailed the prosecutor. Louis Saha Matturie has also been charged with eight rapes and four sexual assaults, some of which received a verdict on January 13.
Most of the charges against Benjamin Mendy allegedly took place at his mansion, where the player hosted parties in Manchester, from 2017, the year he joined the club from City. Upon arrival, some young women report having their cell phones confiscated, Le Parisien reported. Some say they were locked in a kind of "panic room", survival rooms used to take refuge in the event of a burglary or intrusion.
In an article in the Guardian, it is explained that the two women who say they were raped in these rooms thought they were locked up. “You cannot enter from the outside, but you can open them from the inside if you know how to do it”, detailed the prosecutor during the trial. However, only the footballer could do it.
On Wednesday August 17, 2022 during the trial, a first plaintiff ("Woman 1") was heard. His testimony was recorded by the police and then broadcast during the trial in order to preserve his anonymity. For more than an hour and a half, she recounted an evening in October 2018 when, after drinking games in a restaurant, Benjamin Mendy allegedly told her about another man she coveted "when he turns your back, I will kidnap you", reports Le Parisien. The player also reportedly said his boyfriend said it would be "OK" if they had sex.
In the soundtrack, the young woman says she first thought it was a joke. She then went to the player's home, where she fell asleep while drunk. When she wakes up, she explains how the football player would have entered the bathroom, while she was taking a shower, refusing to come out, despite her repeated requests. She claims that Benjamin Mendy would have shown her his penis, preventing her from taking her underwear, then sitting on a bed to try to rape her.
"I did not understand what was happening," she testified, explaining that she did not shout, because she was flabbergasted. Confused, she would have managed to leave the mansion and send an SMS to a friend to inform her of what had just happened. The young woman filed a complaint in August 2021, after learning that Benjamin Mendy had been arrested for rape.
On Thursday August 18, 2022, a second plaintiff ("Woman 2") was heard in court. She accused Benjamin Mendy of raping her three times at a party in October 2020. After meeting the footballer at a bar, she and her friends were invited to the mansion in turn for a night out. Arriving there, the woman says she had her phone confiscated by the player.
After following him to a room to retrieve him, she assures us that the footballer would have asked her to undress so that she could obtain satisfaction. According to comments reported by France info, she would have said: "I want my phone, I don't know what you're thinking. I don't want to make love with you".
Benjamin Mendy would then have answered him "in any case the door is locked". To enter the room, the player would have unlocked the door with his fingerprint. The woman then tells how the footballer would have raped her three times in about twenty minutes and claims to have bled after these reports.
Before leaving the room, Benjamin Mendy would have asked him: "Don't tell anyone and you can come here every night", explains BFM TV. "As if it had been a privilege to come every night to do this with him," the complainant asserted during the trial. She filed a complaint three weeks after the incident.
On Tuesday, August 23, the third plaintiff ("Woman 3") and alleged victim in the Benjamin Mendy case testified. She says she went with a friend to a party at Benjamin Mendy's mansion on January 2, 2021 around midnight and told the court: "Three in the morning, I was walking to the island and he was coming back that way. .He kind of grabbed my vulva."
The gesture would have been furtive according to her, but sufficient to violate the privacy of the complainant who specified: "I was wearing underwear but I could feel his fingers inside my vagina". According to the complainant, the scene would have continued in the toilets where the young woman thinks of taking refuge and smoking a cigarette: "I was going to the toilets but the door was locked. He came to open the door and I entered the room We were face to face and he made a move to give me oral sex. I turned around and my friend came over and I told her what had happened," she continued.
The evening would have continued in the presence of the young woman and her friend, both too "drunk" to take the road. The witness admits having continued to drink and having spent the evening by the swimming pool while "keeping his distance" from the footballer. He allegedly came up to him asking why he was angry and apologizing in the process: "He said he was really sorry and he didn't want to make me feel uncomfortable. He was almost childish." .
The complainant mentioned a last exchange with Benjamin Mendy around six o'clock in the morning to find spare business for the young woman. "We went upstairs and he gave me the clothes. He asked me if I wanted underwear and I said 'yes'. I asked him to leave the room while I walked away. was dressing and he did it immediately."
The fourth complainant ("Woman Four") accused Benjamin Mendy of rape at a party on July 23, 2021. , took advantage of a moment apart to ask her if she wanted to have sex. The complainant would then have replied that she first wanted to be in a stable relationship.
"I don't want to be someone who wants to be in a relationship," Benjamin Mendy would then have retorted according to his version of the facts. The footballer admits to having kissed the young woman who then allegedly performed oral sex on him, before having sex for five minutes.
The fifth complainant ("Woman Six") accused the City player of having raped her at her home on July 24, 2021. Again the Frenchman denied the facts and insisted, as with the other complainants, that the young woman was consenting when she had sex with him.
The plaintiff who testified at trial on Wednesday August 24 ("Woman 10") accused Benjamin Mendy of raping her during a party at his mansion near Manchester in August 2021. The young woman admitted to having went to the player's home on her own and joined the man in a room at his request later that evening. "We ended up kissing and he lowered his pants" explained the alleged victim who added to the trial that he immediately made the footballer understand his desire not to have sex with him.
She specified that she had not consumed alcohol and had been fully conscious when she repeated her non-consent several times. She adds that she used several excuses such as not taking contraception or the fact that they did not know each other at the insistence of Benjamin Mendy. According to the complainant, a non-consensual sexual relationship would then have taken place despite her refusal: "I did not know what to do at that time, I had given all possible excuses to get out of this situation". "I had to get on all fours. He was behind, with his hand on my back. [...] It was not long, within 20 seconds and it was over", detailed the young woman describing the rape before adding, "The whole time it was going on he knew I didn't want this. He kept coming over and insisting, there was nothing else I could do."
In her testimony, the plaintiff adds that after the alleged rape, she joined her friend who was allegedly prevented from coming to join her by two friends of Benjamin Mendy. She says she was traumatized after the fact and felt "dirty" and "ashamed". Benjamin Mendy, he would have returned to her by messages to ask her to join him, invitations all declined.
During the trial, which began in late summer 2022, the French footballer pleaded not guilty and denied the ten counts of sexual offenses against him. During the presentation of the facts by the court prosecutor, Benjamin Mendy remained calm, even "impassive" according to France info in August (the two defendants "have not shown any emotion since the start of their trial", reported Le Parisian). Then after several weeks of hearing marked by the hearings of the various complainants, the defense was able to speak at the beginning of November. Benjamin Mendy then assured that all relations were agreed.
Confirming that he sometimes called complainants "sexy", asked some explicitly if they wanted to have sex, or even received advances ("She was dancing in front of me. I was walking away."), Benjamin Mendy referred to some of these relationships as "flirting", with sex always consensual. He will declare in particular about a plaintiff ("Woman Ten") that she was "consenting" to 1000% ".
The player has mostly portrayed himself as "someone who doesn't want to be in a relationship", but also, implicitly, as a dissolute party animal, regretting for example having organized a party during the Covid pandemic -19. A portrait reinforced by the interventions of the prosecutor Timothy Cray, pointing to a totally drunk Mendy, security video in support, the evening when one of the complainants accused him of rape.
In an article published in September 2021 in Le Parisien, several of his relatives explained who Benjamin Mendy is, beyond what the general public knows, regretted that no one was able to put him back on the right track. "Ben comes from a poor family", explained in particular the father of goalkeeper Brice Samba who welcomed the young man under his roof for six months in Le Havre.
"His parents, now deceased, never had much influence on him. Only his older brother, David, tried to substitute for his parents in an attempt to frame him, but he ended up giving up (.. .) As soon as he made some money from football in Le Havre, Benjamin bought clothes from the Louis Vuitton brand. It was his way of standing out. Then, in Marseille, it was is accelerated with money, notoriety and bad company (...) Benjamin's main problem is that no one around him has been able to put him back on the right track," said Brice Samba. Senior.
In the United Kingdom, rape is not qualified in the same way as in France. Across the Channel, it is considered that there is rape when an individual (A) "intentionally penetrates the vagina, the anus or the mouth of an individual (B) with his penis without B consenting to this penetration and that A does not reasonably believe that B consents to it", explained 20 Minutes on the sidelines of the case.
The notion of consent was questioned during the trial. In British justice, the plaintiffs are not at the heart of the trial. Finally, in the United Kingdom, the sentences are cumulative and a rape can be punished by four years in prison to life. Still prosecuted despite a first favorable verdict in January, Benjamin Mendy could, if found guilty, go through prison.