Benjamin Mendy had, over time, become more at ease around Chester Crown Court during a lengthy trial punctuated by delays that started during an August heatwave.
By November, on the second day of his own evidence, the Manchester City defender joked with photographers – camped outside every day – as they broke for lunch. He had entered these proceedings nervously scratching his nose and picking his ear in the dock; soon he was calmer, breezily video calling friends during breaks in one corner of the foyer, wearing a flat cap backwards while cheerily requesting two sugars in his tea.
It was no laughing matter as the verdicts were delivered on Wednesday. One by one, seven counts – six rapes and one sexual assault – came back not guilty. He could not look, head in hands. A dazed expression of relief.
He will now be retried on a count of rape and one of attempted rape after the 11 jurors could not return majority verdicts on either following 67 hours and 17 minutes of deliberation.
Benjamin Mendy will now be retried on a count of rape and one of attempted rape
The Crown Prosecution Service still want to pursue both cases so for Mendy, this continues, with the trial scheduled for June 26 – under a week before his City contract expires.
Prosecutor Timothy Cray KC had started this case by describing Mendy as a ‘predator’ who turned the pursuit of women for sex into a game. He ended it by mentioning Jimmy Savile and grooming during closing remarks. In between, there had been hours of harrowing allegations from women who Mendy’s defence barrister, Eleanor Laws KC, branded unreliable.
‘The reality, as you have seen, is people do make untrue allegations in a really compelling way,’ Ms Laws said. Weeks into the trial, Mendy and his co-accused, Louis Saha Matturie, had been acquitted of raping the same woman after a video emerged of her enjoying ‘enthusiastic sex’ with the latter.
Jurors were told to end Mendy’s ‘absolute hell’. The France international had worn a look, particularly when giving evidence, of a man who simply did not believe he had done anything wrong. He admitted that four months in prison last year offered self-reflection, realising that his attitude towards women was ‘disrespectful’ but always denied accusations of sexual misconduct.
Mendy, the court heard, had quickly turned lust into sport while coming through the ranks at Le Havre before joining Marseille and then Monaco. Carnal activity became a numbers game. One witness in this trial said that he exaggeratedly bragged to having bedded ‘10,000 women’ – something the defence disputed – and claimed that keeping his private company is a ‘privilege’.
That lifestyle continuingly escalated once City paid £52million for him five years ago. Attention in him accelerated 10 times over, according to Mendy. He realised that was down to football, not his looks – describing himself as ‘no Brad Pitt’.
Mendy out and about in the centre of Manchester with his City teammates
His character came into serious question throughout, so much so that Ms Laws herself told the jury that his behaviour was ‘hedonistic’. She argued that it was ‘not criminal’ to have sex with multiple women without contraception, although he had made ‘monumental mistakes, mistakes that are morally dubious’.
Ms Laws said in closing: ‘I certainly would not want my daughter to go to a party of this type and if Mr Mendy was there.’
Ms Laws added: ‘His life in football, as he knew it, and in the UK is over even if he is found not guilty. Look up Ched Evans. The stories and headlines will always be there. They can never escape.’
Mendy’s own evidence inside Chester’s grand Georgian court leaves his career in England in the balance. There can be no doubt of that, on hearing the scale of his unprofessionalism. The constant parties, some illegal during lockdown, at his Cheshire mansion, nightclubbing at Chinawhite on Manchester’s Deansgate ‘two or three times a week’ during a season.
He volunteered that he drove under the influence of alcohol on a night he was accused of rape. One witness told court that she saw Mendy produce a bong, used to smoke drugs. He held umpteen illegal lockdown parties, for which he offered remorse.
‘I was enjoying the house, I was enjoying the women,’ Mendy told the jury. ‘I was so happy to be here, so excited. At the time, I was not thinking about what was bad – the parties, the covid rules – I was on the train going fast and kept going until I went to prison. That was the first time I was really alone and had time to think about everything.’
He barely flinched, bar a short period of agitation with Mr Cray when Mendy asked a number of times, ‘What is the question?’
Mendy agreed with Mr Cray that he attended a party at his £2,000-a-month rented city centre flat – situated on the same road as Pep Guardiola’s apartment – where a girl was heard shouting ‘rape’. He was cleared of sexual assault during a boozy party, which included turning Jenga into a drinking game, at his home on January 2, 2021 – a day before sitting on the bench during City’s 3-1 victory away at Chelsea. He had already been outed as hosting an illegal New Year’s Eve party and was still one of only a few senior players not to have contracted coronavirus ahead of that trip to London.
‘He’s a special guy for all of us and he has an incredible heart,’ Guardiola said after that game. ‘But he has to understand some things. I’m not justifying it – he broke the rules. But it is easy to judge others.’
Mendy’s multi-million pound mansion in Cheshire
Mendy had already been arrested on suspicion of rape two months prior to that incident. The France international – a World Cup winner in 2018 – went on to play for City on 13 more occasions after Chelsea.
The Premier League champions stopped paying his wages, of around £100,000 a week, once charged by police for a string of sex offences in August last year. His contract expires next summer. It will surely not be renewed. A reminder that with transfer fee and wages, City have blown upwards of £71m, excluding bonuses, on him.
Regardless, Guardiola gave a character witness for Mendy at the trial at the left back’s request, calling him ‘a good boy’, adding that he was unaware of the player’s activity away from the training ground because he is ‘not his father’. Mendy’s own father died in 2020, his mother passed away in 2016.
‘I try to demand the best of him,’ said Guardiola via video link. ‘Sometimes he delivered, sometimes he didn’t.’ That appraisal appeared somewhat generous. Mendy has in the past paid fines for turning up late to training and staff also lamented a lack of seriousness when rehabilitating from an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Guardiola fined Mendy £200,000 for an illegal covid party.
Mendy was described as ‘not the perfect professional’, frequently oversleeping and arriving late for training or treatment
‘The Manchester City manager had identified where the lockdown party was because of the picture of Muhammad Ali on the wall,’ Judge Steven Everett said. Mobile phones were regularly taken from women inside the house – parts of which resembled a shrine to Mendy’s career – to deter pictures.
Sources around the club have said his character is akin to a child and that chimes with the open house policy Mendy operated. Scores of people came and went as they pleased at all hours, which prompted City to suggest the installing of ‘panic room’ doors on his bedroom and study after jewellery was stolen. The prosecution alleged that women who gave evidence in the court case felt they were locked behind those, but the defence said they were not trapped.
Jodie Deakin, City’s former first-team support manager, organised the locks to be fitted. To open them, a ‘simple’ code is required and then releasing two handles simultaneously.
‘I wanted it to be there so he had a bit of sanctuary, to lock people out, and that was his safe haven,’ Deakin said. ‘There was a fingerprint recognition function but it never got set up because, to be honest, I didn’t know how to. We set a code for him.
‘He is the nicest person you’ll ever meet. Benjamin attracted a lot of attention. He is quite flamboyant in the way he dresses. A lot of girls would be attracted to that look. He wears his heart on his sleeve.’
His agent, Meissa N’Diaye, held stern discussions with him about a lack of application to a career which brought him such riches.
The parties were relentless and, the prosecution made clear that Mendy believed that once women were through the big gates, they were fair game. Matturie – found not guilty of three counts of sexual violence, with no verdict reached on six counts – was described as a ‘fixer’ whose job it was to source women for parties at Mendy’s home, something he denied.
When on the stand, Mendy, 28, bent down towards the microphone in hushed tones, said he was ‘ashamed to talk about this in a loud voice’, saying: ‘I’m embarrassed when you are asking me a question and I say, “yeah I love sex”.’
Mendy’s insatiable desire for sex was evident in his attitude towards approaching the subject, asking girls whether they could within a matter of minutes of meeting them. ‘I was trying to be more direct to avoid conversation or going on a date,’ he said. ‘That is why I was quick to ask if they wanted to have sex.
‘Now I can see they can be hurt. Even when we both agree, I hurt their feelings because we don’t know each other. They can be upset.’
Mendy also agreed that he had stopped one woman from ordering a taxi away from his property by taking her mobile phone. ‘It sounds forced but the way we were talking was a nice way,’ he said.
The details do nothing for football’s image but for today, this is about Mendy’s disorderly existence.
Inside seedy world of celebrity sex parties: How Benjamin Mendy trial shone a light on scene where VIP nightclub promoters trawl social media for attractive women to pass around at £1,500-a-table haunts full of A-listers and rich footballers
By Nick Craven and Andrew Russell for MailOnline
The trial of Benjamin Mendy lifted the lid on a seedy underworld inhabited by a breed of footballers where money is no object – and attractive young women are targeted for sex.
The 28-year-old Manchester city star has been found not guilty of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, relating to four young women. However, the jury were unable to reach verdicts on another count of rape and one attempted sexual assault.
Meanwhile, his ‘sidekick’ Louis Saha Matturie, 41, was found not guilty by the jury of three counts of rape relating to two teenagers. Jurors also failed to reach verdicts on three counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault against him by five other women.
Six months of court hearings revealed a sleazy jungle where young women are ‘procured’ by nightclub promoters with, quite literally, a bounty on their heads. In Mendy’s case, women aged between 17 and 29, were ‘targeted’ by him and Matturie, whose role was to pick out women to take back to Mendy’s house for ‘parties’.
Benjamin Mendy has been found not guilty of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault
An Instagram photo of Mendy in a car near Hong Kong International Airport
Now promoters also use sophisticated apps designed to ensure a fresh flow of attractive young flesh to sate the demand of men such as Mendy and Matturie who judging by evidence heard in the trial view girls as nothing more than playthings.
Mendy’s behaviour was flagrant and prolific – continuing as it did, long after his first arrest in November 2020, which swiftly became common knowledge in the world of football but could not be reported for legal reasons.
His hard-partying lifestyle, clubbing two or three times a week as well as inviting numerous young women to his home and frequently having sex with more than one on the same night, was an open secret among colleagues.
Marc Boixasa, former head of first team operations at Manchester City told the court that Mendy was ‘not the perfect professional’, frequently oversleeping and arriving late for training or treatment.
Some of the parties which led to the offences Mendy was charged with even took place while he was being treated for a knee injury between October and November 2020, which was when he was first arrested.
Despite the not guilty findings, many questions will still surely be asked about the role of Mendy’s employers, Manchester City in all this, who did not suspend him from playing until he was charged in August 2021.
As he was remanded in custody, it seemed that suspension was little more than symbolic by that stage.
When, in January 2021, Mendy faced a barrage of criticism for breaching Covid Tier 4 lockdown restrictions by holding two New Year’s parties at his mansion, City manager Pep Guardiola leapt to his defence, calling him a ‘special guy’ with an ‘incredible heart’.
As it later transpired, one of those parties resulted in a claim he allegedly grabbed a young woman’s private parts over her clothing.
Mendy was known for his hard-partying lifestyle, clubbing two or three times a week as well as inviting numerous young women to his home
It is impossible to say for certain whether Mr Guardiola knew of his star defender’s arrest two months earlier.
But an exclusive story in the Daily Mail referring to Mendy as the unnamed ‘Premier League player arrested on suspicion of rape’ would suggest the club were only too well aware.
But Mendy is far from unique in the entitled realms of Premier League players, idolised young men used to being able to have anything – and anyone – they desire.
Prosecutor Tim Cray KC told the jury in opening the case: ‘It has little to do with football. It is another chapter in a very old story: men think they are powerful, and because they think they can get away with it.’
It may have little to do with 22 men kicking a leather ball around, but there is no doubt that the billions of pounds swirling around between top clubs, agents and players in the sport fuels this tawdry cycle of booze, drugs and grubby sex.
Mendy’s £52m transfer fee to Manchester City from Monaco in 2017 set a world record for a defender, after all, and his earnings of £100,000 a week no doubt left him with the firm impression that anything – or anyone – could be bought.
But what of the women themselves? Mendy’s defence barrister Eleanor Laws KC insisted the case was far removed from a sex trafficking trial where children or teens were plied with drink and ‘had no choice’.
‘Quite the reverse — every single woman wanted to go there,’ she told the jury.
‘The women in this case have made choices for themselves, who decide they want to go to a nightclub, they want to drink, they want to meet someone like Mr Mendy.’
She added: ‘They all enjoyed going to the pub, meeting strangers, the VIP treatment, dancing and flirting with men and having fun.
‘All of them are taking risks. They are going to the house of someone they don’t know at all.
‘They often arrive not even having met Mr Mendy. They wanted to be there and while they are there are these strange connections with other men and women. It’s intense and superficial.’
The Manchester nightclub Chinawhite was mentioned during Mendy’s court case
The experience of the youngest woman to make the allegations in the case, a 17-year-old, gives an insight into both sides of Mendy’s dangerous liaisons.
The girl, who met Mendy at a club, has a very glamorous Instagram profile which she admitted under video cross-examination by Mendy’s lawyer, Eleanor Laws KC, makes her look a lot older.
She was already in a relationship with another man when she was introduced to Matturie by another of the girls who gave evidence in the case.
Matturie offered her a ticket in a private box for an upcoming City game and she thought he was in Mendy’s entourage as a PA or a bodyguard.
She said she was excited about watching the game from a private box and sent texts to a friend who asked if it was Mendy who got her the tickets.
She replied : ‘No, his bestie.’
The girl then told her friend she had been invited to dinner with Matturie and that he would be with City’s hottest new recruit and England midfield star Jack Grealish.
She told the court: ‘I was under the impression that he wanted lots of girls to come to this meal, this party.’
Early on the Sunday morning, she sent her mother a text saying she had been invited to a private party with Matturie and ‘possibly Jack Grealish.’
She also sent a voice note to her friend telling her to ‘get the f*** in here’ so she could go to the party.
In a taxi, en route, she denied when cross-examined that she was ‘happy’ to give up her mobile phone and said: ‘It was a very ambiguous situation. It shocked me at the time. We were forcefully asked to give up our phones’
She also denied a suggestion there was ‘a fun atmosphere’ in the taxi to Mendy’s house but admitted there was a bottle being passed around.
When they reached Mendy’s luxury home in the Cheshire ‘footballer’s belt’ village of Prestbury there were a number of people in the house including friends of Mendy from France. Balloons were still up from a birthday party the previous day for Mendy’s nephew.
Friend and ‘fixer’ Louis Saha Matturie, 46, pictured outside court
Standing around the swimming pool, the girl said that she took off her clothes apart from her underwear and a baseball jersey which ‘just covered my bottom.’
She said she had taken some cocaine before leaving home and had drunk half a raspberry vodka and some champagne at the party.
Mendy ‘prompted her’ to come over and complimented her on her eyes and figure, and she admitted lifting up her top at the back when he mentioned her bottom.
She agreed to go into an office with him for more privacy and when the door closed behind them, she presumed Mendy had locked it.
She denied a suggestion from Mendy’s barrister that he told her he wanted sex, insisting: ‘He did not say anything about sex. There was no build up conversation.’
As she sat on a sofa she performed oral sex on Mendy, who was standing. She agreed she performed the act but added: ‘I did not say I wanted to.’
She admitted that in her first police interview lasting three hours, she failed to mention the oral sex.
She added: ‘It was traumatic. It is something you do not expect to happen when you are in a room with someone.’
She denied being happy to perform the act or that there had been eye contact between them.
The pair then had full sex. She told the court: ‘There was no communication at all. He turned me over and put me in that position. It was quite gentle but he turned me over.
‘I did not want to because I thought the door was locked and I was f*****g scared.. In that moment I just froze. it was an internal response.
‘I wanted it to stop. I did not indicate anything. I just froze up. I did not consent to sex.’
She denied there had been a short discussion about whether she was on the pill but said she had a text from Mendy the next day saying ‘don’t forget’ (morning after pill).
In a Snapchat message, Mendy had said to her he wanted to have sex with her every night if he could and that she had the body and the a*** of a 17 year old.
Mendy joined Manchester City for £52million on a £100,000-a-week deal as part of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s plans to dominate the Premier League
A photo Mendy shared on Twitter showing him watching a football match while on a medical bed
She added: ‘I was in complete shock. My body was in complete shock. I had not done anything. Something awful was done to me.’
She left the office but didn’t attempt to leave or retrieve her phone which she said had been locked in a safe.
She sat on a sofa and talked to another young woman, whose complaint against Matturi was also told to the court.
The court was played voice notes which the 17-year-old had sent to friends the following morning in which she could be heard giggling and saying ‘oh my God, it was amazing’ and claiming she had been made to sign an NDA.
One voice note also said of Grealish: ‘He is so sexy. He was winking at me and saying I was beautiful. I did not sleep with him because I am not easy but I have been invited out to dinner with them next Sunday.’
She had also described it as ‘a peak of my life evening.’
She later told her mother and boyfriend what happened and they told her to go to the police, The matter was mentioned to Man City’s director of football.
She said did not want these things to happen, but denied she had been forced into a corner by what she had told her mother and boyfriend, saying: ‘I think it was the right thing to do. In my mind it was always the right thing to do.’
She agreed she had posted on Snapchat after the alleged rape that she ‘became one of the 97 percent last night’ – a reference to the number of women said to have suffered sexual assaults. The post was accompanied by a close-up of her lips .
But she deleted her Snapchat story and also a WhatsApp group chat with a circle of friends.
Questioned by Lisa Wilding QC on behalf of Matturie, she denied a suggestion that she was ‘very keen’ to meet Jack Grealish and had gone to the party in the hope of meeting him. She also denied asking Matturie for Grealish’s phone number, which he refused to give.
She also denied that the sex with Matturie, which had taken place in the cinema room where there were other people, had been consensual.
Ms Wilding said that the girl had been happy about having had a great day but then became worried about her ex-boyfriend finding out that she had had sex with two different men.
‘What you said to [him] just grew and grew and that is why we are here today,’ said Ms Wilding.
The Mendy case also shares disturbing similarities with the parties enjoyed by other footballers, such as confiscating the women’s mobile phones, ostensibly to prevent them filming.
Unlimited supplies of alcohol – and though not a factor in Mendy’s case, drugs such as cocaine and cannabis — also help to break down inhibitions as the night wears on and are prevalent on the ‘soccer scene’.
In the Mendy case, the court heard that nitrous oxide, or laughing gas canisters were frequently inhaled at the parties.
MailOnline investigated how footballers ‘on the hunt’ find their ‘conquests’ and what the women were seeking as they embarked on this dangerous game.
We spoke to one woman journalist who infiltrated the London nightclub scene some years ago in search of celebrity stories.
‘Basically attractive young women are treated as a commodity to be shipped into the clubs,’ said Anna*, now 32.
‘The promoters used to hang around outside Top Shop in Oxford Street and approach young girls asking if they wanted to go to a party in a smart nightclub in Mayfair, with free Champagne all night. Of course, many said yes.’
Anna recalls that the girls who frequented the clubs had a variety of motives: ‘I think the majority were just looking to have some fun, and if that included meeting a famous footballer, then so be it.’
Did some harbour dreams of becoming a WAG – or even better a princess? — since not so long ago, Prince Harry was also a frequent visitor to trendy West End nightspots such as Boujis and Mahiki.
‘I don’t think that was forefront in anyone’s mind, but I can’t speak for everyone,’ said Anna.
‘I think it was mostly about the lure of going a free party at a place you’d never normally be able to get into and having fun.
‘But once we were in the VIP section, our phones were taken from us to stop us filming anyone, and the drink flowed.
‘Away from the public gaze, there was smoking and drugs with no one raising an eyebrow. When I first started going I was so naïve that when I was offered coke, I replied that I didn’t like fizzy drinks!
‘I never took drugs anyway, but I saw plenty of girls who did.’
Nowadays the promoters don’t have to trawl the pavements seeking attractive young women, they can simply surf Instagram and message the girls who take their fancy, or use sophisticated apps to do the donkey work for them.
The app describes itself as ‘the go-to platform to get yourself booked into nightclubs’.
Anyone wanting entry into a venue, male or female, has to upload four images – two selfies and two full-length. If the promoter is impressed, the user is told they can join the free guest list.
A Mail on Sunday investigation last month found that promoters are paid a ‘bounty’ of around £20 a head for each female customer they lure to a club – providing they are judged attractive enough.
Using the app, two attractive female journalists were accepted almost immediately onto the free guest lists of Wyld in Mayfair and Cirque Le Soir, just off Carnaby Street in Soho.
Their male colleagues, however, were declined equally quickly.
One of the men was told by a promoter: ‘I can get you in with £800 on a table. Bottle of vodka and all the mixers included. The club will be 80 per cent girls. I can send groups of girls to your table.’
In reality, of course, attractive girls nearly always make the cut, while men will find they have to pay up to £1,500 for a VIP table – mere pocket change, of course, for Premier League multi-millionaires such as Benjamin Mendy.
Benjamin Mendy, 28, will face a retrial on one count of rape and another of attempted rape – putting his Manchester City playing career in jeopardy after being cleared of seven other charges
Benjamin Mendy will face a retrial on one count of rape and another of attempted rape after a jury failed to reach verdicts – as he was cleared of seven other charges.
The Manchester City star, 28, sitting in the dock at Chester Crown Court, covered his face with both hands and gently rocked back and forth as the jury foreman, delivering the verdicts in a hushed courtroom, repeated ‘not guilty’ to six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, relating to four young women or teenagers.
However, the jury were unable to reach verdicts on another count of rape and one attempted sexual assault – alleged to have taken place at Mendy’s £4.7million mansion in Prestbury, Cheshire.
He will now face a three-week trial on the two outstanding counts starting on June 26.
Manchester City star Benjamin Mendy, 28, is seen arriving at court in December
The unanimous verdicts were delivered today by the seven men and four women on the jury, one juror having been discharged earlier for medical reasons.
Mendy’s lawyer Jenny Wiltshire said the footballer was ‘delighted’ to have been cleared of sex attacks on four women and ‘looks forward’ to clearing his name at a retrial over the two other allegations and ‘rebuilding his life’.
She said: ‘My client Benjamin Mendy would like to thank the members of the jury for their dedication and commitment.
‘He also thanks everyone who supported him, and particularly the witnesses who gave evidence on his behalf in the glare of such intense publicity. He looks forward to clearing his name in relation to the other two charges so he can start rebuilding his life.’
A spokesman for Manchester City said: ‘We note the verdict from Chester Crown Court today, where a jury has found Benjamin Mendy not guilty of seven charges. The jury is hung on two charges and the trial is now over.
‘Given there are open matters related to this case, the club is not in a position to comment further at this time.’
Judge Steven Everett told the court: ‘The prosecution has made a decision. We have made a decision today, which is to proceed on these counts in two separate trials and we seek today a provisional case management.’
Louis Saha Matturie, 41, Mendy’s co-accused and alleged ‘fixer’, was found not guilty by the jury of three counts of rape relating to two teenagers. Jurors also failed to reacherdicts on three counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault against him by five other women.
The trial, due to start last January, lasted nearly six months, with the jury of eight men and four women hearing of a string of alleged sex crimes against 13 original complainants.
The allegations and trial had been ‘absolute hell’ for Mendy, the court heard, and his life in football ‘is over’ as he would ‘never escape’ the accusations.
Mendy had been accused of being a ‘predator’ who turned the pursuit of women for sex into a game, his trial heard, drinking champagne in VIP areas of Manchester nightclubs before inviting young women into ‘toxic and dangerous’ situations at ‘after-parties’ at his £4.7million Cheshire mansion in Mottram St Andrew, near Prestbury.
Timothy Cray KC, prosecuting, said Matturie, known as Saha, was Mendy’s ‘friend and fixer’ and used a £2,000-a month rented flat in Salford to hold parties. Mendy also paid him £17,000 for his services over the course of a year.
Mr Cray said Matturie’s job was to find young women for Mendy and ‘to create the situations where they could be raped and abused’.
He told the jury: ‘The acts that the defendants did together show callous indifference to the women they went after. In their minds, and this could not be clearer, the stream of women they brought to their homes existed purely to be pursued for sex.’
But jurors were told by defence lawyers that while the trial, involving money, sex and celebrity, had ‘all the makings of a good drama’, it came with a significant ‘plot twist’ – the accused were innocent.
Mendy’s lawyer said the trial had been ‘absolute hell’ for the footballer. He is pictured arriving at Chester Crown Court earlier in the case
Lockdown-busting parties were held both at Mendy’s home and an apartment he rented on Chapel Street near Manchester city centre, the court heard.
He was first arrested in November 2020 after the alleged triple rape of a 24-year-old woman at his home the previous month.
Mendy was released under investigation before he was later accused of sexually assaulting another woman, aged 24, two months later, and while on police bail for that offence, was accused of the rape of three other women, one aged 17 – all offences of which he was cleared.
Mendy was suspended by his club in August 2021, after he was charged with rape.
Lisa Wilding KC, representing Matturie, suggested all the women involved were in some way connected through friendships, social media connections or by attending parties.
Jurors were told not to take a ‘moralistic’ approach to the defendants’ sexual lifestyles, and the approach of Cheshire Police was also criticised in court.
Eleanor Laws KC, defending Mendy, suggested ‘regret’ at having ‘quick, animalistic sex’ is not the same as being raped.
Ms Wilding said the sexual habits and lifestyles of the defendants did not make them rapists.
The lawyer told the jury there was ‘a tangled spider’s web of contact, collusion and contamination’ among the 12 complainants.
Ms Wilding said complainants in this case had actively pursued sex with men they hardly knew and that is their right – but it can come with hurt and embarrassment afterwards.
Both defence barristers pointed out that the evidence of one complainant, a 19-year-old who said she had been raped by both Mendy and Matturie, was proved unreliable when a sex tape was revealed, which helped weaken the rest of the case against the two men.
The mobile phone footage was shot by Matturie showing him and the teenager having sex at the apartment in Chapel Street which the complainant had claimed was rape.
The revelation of the tape half way through the trial by Matturie’s defence team led to one charge of rape against Mendy and two charges of rape plus one of sexual assault against Matturie being dropped.
Ms Wilding said: ‘For 56 minutes she sat there and gave a lying account. I suggest to you that the witness’s ability to lie and deceive and to embellish was quite something.
‘We have travelled a long way from the dark ages of ”she was wearing a short skirt so she was asking for it”. Hopefully we have left that a long way behind.
‘Young women are sexually liberated, independent and they use their bodies as they wish. They carry the banner of sexual freedom but that also comes with responsibility.
‘It does not mean that what they do and how they choose to do it cannot be looked at in the context of this case.’
Mendy had denied seven counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of sexual assault against six young women, between October 2018 and August 2021.
Matturie, of Eccles, Salford, denied six counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault relating to seven young women, between July 2012 and August 2021.