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16 November 2022

Jury in Benjamin Mendy rape trial told not to take ‘moralistic’ approach to verdict

16 November 2022

Jurors trying the rape case of Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy have been told not to take a “moralistic” approach when considering their verdicts.

Judge Steven Everett said some jurors were possibly “not impressed” with the behaviour towards women of the Premier League footballer and his friend and co-accused Louis Saha Matturie.

The 28-year-old France international is accused of being a “predator” who turned the pursuit of women for sex into a game.

The jury heard that, during the pandemic, the flat Mendy rented in Manchester and his home, The Spinney, in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire, were used for lockdown-busting parties, where women and girls were sexually assaulted and raped.

You must judge this case on the evidence you have heard and not allow any moralistic view that you have about this behaviour to cloud your judgement

One rape complainant claimed Mendy told her having sex with him was a “privilege” and boasted of having intercourse with 10,000 women.

Mendy and Matturie say any sexual contact was consensual.

Judge Everett, giving the jury legal directions on how to approach the evidence before prosecution and defence closing speeches and his summing up of the case, said: “Please also remember this is a court of law and not a court of morals.

“When you were listening to the evidence of witnesses, be it for the prosecution or from Mr Mendy, you may have concluded that both Mr Mendy and Mr Matturie wanted to have sex with a number of women and at times were prepared to have sexual contact with the same woman at the same party on the same day.

“It is entirely possible you have come to the conclusion that you were not impressed with that approach, one which Mr Mendy himself accepted was, to use his words, disrespectful to the women he had sex with.

“Neither defendant is on trial for this activity, or for that matter breaches of lockdown rules or bail conditions.

“You must judge this case on the evidence you have heard and not allow any moralistic view that you have about this behaviour to cloud your judgement.”

Timothy Cray KC, prosecuting, has accused Mendy of being a “danger to women” who believed the rules did not apply to himself and got it “terribly wrong” in believing women and girls were consenting to have sex with him.

Mendy told the jury he regrets his partying lifestyle and his approach to women but denies sexual offences.

He has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of sexual assault against six young women.

Matturie, 41, of Eccles, Salford, whose job it was, the prosecution allege, to get girls and women to the parties, denies six counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault relating to seven young women.

The trial was adjourned until Thursday morning, when Mr Cray will give the prosecution’s closing speech.

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