Benjamin Mendy Acquitted: Tears of Relief as Former Football Star Cleared of Sex Offences
Former Manchester City and France footballer Benjamin Mendy was overcome with emotion on Friday as a UK jury acquitted him of sex offences, bringing an end to a grueling three-year legal battle. Sitting in the Chester Crown Court in northwest England, Mendy, 28, lowered his head onto his knees, tears streaming down his face, upon hearing the verdict at the conclusion of the three-week trial.After deliberating for approximately three hours and 15 minutes, the jury, comprised of six men and six women, delivered not guilty verdicts on one count of rape and another count of attempted rape. Mendy, a prominent football figure who would have faced a lengthy prison sentence had he been convicted, had previously been cleared in January of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault after a six-month trial. However, the jury in that trial was unable to reach a verdict on two additional counts, resulting in a retrial.Following the expiration of his contract with Manchester City at the end of June, Mendy steadfastly denied all charges brought against him. Alongside Mendy, Louis Saha Matturie, 41, an alleged “fixer,” was also accused and subsequently acquitted by the jury in the prior trial of three counts of rape pertaining to two teenagers. The jury in that trial also failed to reach verdicts on three counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault against Matturie involving five other women. Matturie is set to face a separate retrial later this year.The prosecution alleged that Mendy, whom they described as a sexual “predator,” engaged in non-consensual sexual acts with young women procured by Matturie at parties held at Mendy’s luxury residence south of Manchester. Both Mendy and Matturie vehemently denied any non-consensual encounters, asserting that any sexual activity they engaged in with women was consensual.Mendy, whose move to Manchester City from French club Monaco in 2017 marked a record signing for a defender, made 75 appearances for the team. However, his playing time was hampered by injuries and a decline in performance. Having earned 10 caps for France, the last of which was in November 2019, Mendy played a crucial role in the national side’s victory at the 2018 World Cup.The trials inflicted a significant setback on Mendy, causing him to miss Manchester City’s triumphant treble in the English Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League last season. In response to the verdict, Mendy’s legal team expressed his delight in being acquitted in both trials, stating, “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.” They further emphasized that this marked the second time Mendy had been tried and found not guilty by a jury.Having endured nearly three years of investigation and legal proceedings, Mendy acknowledged the profound impact this ordeal had on him and expressed gratitude to those who supported him. In light of the verdict, he now seeks privacy to begin the process of rebuilding his life.