Football player Benjamin Mendy was found not guilty of six counts of rape

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Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy has been found not guilty of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault against four young women.

The jury returned no verdicts on one count of rape and one count of attempted rape, and the case will be retried.

Luis Saa Matturi, 41, was also found not guilty of three counts of raping two teenagers.

Jurors at Chester Crown Court were unable to reach a verdict on six other counts against five other women.

Mr Mendy, 28, and his friend Mr Matturi were accused of raping the women at the player’s home in Prestbury, Cheshire, and at a flat in Manchester.

Mr Mendy covered his face with both hands as the foreman of the jury repeated “not guilty” on the six counts.

During the six-month trial, prosecutors told jurors that Mr Mandy was a “predator” who turned chasing women for sex into a game.

But lawyers also told jurors that while the money, sex and celebrity trial had “all the makings of a good drama,” it had a significant “plot twist” — that the defendants were innocent.

Lawyers for both men argued that each charge was “full of inconsistencies and flaws.”

Lisa Wilding, representing Mr Metturi, told jurors it was “terrifyingly easy” to make false allegations and suggested all the women involved were connected in some way through friendship, social media or going to parties.

Defending Mr Mendy, Eleanor Lowes QC suggested that “complaining” about “rapid, animalistic sex” was not the same as being raped.

Jurors were told not to take a “moralistic” approach to the defendants’ sexual lifestyles.

On Wednesday, the seven men and four women on the jury returned unanimous not guilty verdicts, with one juror dismissed early on medical grounds.

image captionLuis Saa Matturi, 41, was also found not guilty of three counts of rape

But after 14 days of deliberations, jurors were unable to reach a verdict on Mr Mandy’s alleged attempted rape of a 29-year-old woman in 2018 and the alleged rape of another 24-year-old woman in October 2020.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on three counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault against Mr. Metturi.

Judge Everett dismissed the jury Friday, ending the trial.

Both men have been on trial since August 10, accused by 13 women of numerous sexual crimes.

Anti-lockdown parties were held at both Mr Mandy’s home and a flat he rented in Chapel Street near Manchester city centre, the court heard.

“Absolute Hell”

He was first arrested in November 2020 and suspended by the club in August 2021 after being accused of rape.

Prosecutors requested a retrial on two counts on which the jury could not reach a verdict, and it was set for June 26.

Mr. Mattura also faces a retrial scheduled for September.

Matthew Conway, for the prosecution, said: “The prosecution have made a decision. Today, we decided to continue the consideration of these points in two separate trials, and today we request a temporary stay of the case.”

In a statement, Manchester City said: “Given the outstanding issues surrounding this matter, the club is unable to comment further at this time.”

The court heard the allegations and trial had been “absolute hell” for Mr Mendy as his football life was “over” as he would “never escape” the allegations.

Mr Mandy’s lawyer said he was “delighted” to have been cleared of sexually assaulting the four women and looked forward to clearing his name at a retrial on the other two charges and “rebuilding his life”.

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