Prosecutors say Man City fullback Benjamin Mendy and a friend raped and sexually assaulted 13 young women.
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The Premier League star and France international is accused of committing the crimes against the women at his home address between October 2018 and August of last year.
Jurors were told that some of the victims had their phones taken away when they visited Mendy’s Cheshire mansion, while others were locked in rooms. The footballer, 28, denies eight counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, and one count of sexual assault.
He is on trial with co-defendant Louis Saha Matturie, who has also pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is said to be a fixer who helped find the women.
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Matturie, now 40, denies eight counts of rape and four counts of sexual assault against eight young women. The alleged offenses occurred between July 2012 and August of last year.
Prosecutor Timothy Cray QC began the case by telling the jury:
‘The case is simple. Actually, this case has little to do with football. It is another chapter in a very old story: men who rape and sexually assault women, because they think they are powerful, and because they think they can get away with it. They knew very well what they were doing. They turned the pursuit of women for sex into a game. They were prepared to cross that line over and over again. That was the effect of their game.’
‘To them these women were disposable things to be used for sex and thrown to one side. Central to the case is Mendy’s home at the time. We say Mendy’s house is part and parcel of how the defendants gained control of the victims. It’s a mansion. But more importantly, it was isolated, as so many of the victims thought. On occasions when they got there, the victims had their phone taken from them. Some of the complainants were taken to rooms which were locked.’
Mr Cray added: ‘Our case is that the defendants’ pursuit of these 13 women turned them into predators, who were prepared to commit serious sexual offences. Ultimately, these cases are about where the line is drawn’.
‘You will be able to weigh up whether, in each case, the defendants crossed those lines because this is central, readily understandable life experience – you will know where the truth is after having heard the women concerned, the challenges to them and the other evidence that is relevant to the allegations in the charges.’
Both defendants are out on bail, and the trial could last up to 15 weeks. Mendy has been with Manchester City since 2017, when he joined for a reported £52 million from Monaco. After being charged by police, he was suspended by the club.