Footballer Benjamin Mendy has been acquitted of rape and attempted rape after a re-trial.
The former Manchester City player, 28, had denied carrying out the sex attacks on two women at his mansion in Cheshire.
Upon hearing the verdicts, the French international broke down in tears in the dock and was seen with his head on his knees.
Mendy had previously been cleared of sex attacks on four other women (David Rawcliffe/PA).— (PA Wire)
Mendy was cleared of attempting to rape a 29-year-old woman who had stayed overnight at his property in October 2018.
In the morning, the woman claimed that he had appeared in her bedroom “aroused” and had tried to attack her before she was able to struggle free.
The second woman alleged that she had been raped by the professional footballer after meeting him with friends on a night out in Alderley Edge.
The group returned to his home, where she claimed he took her phone and led her to a locked bathroom, before forcing her to strip.
She claimed he then raped her on the bed, despite her protests.
Giving evidence in his defence, Mendy told the jury the pair had a consensual sexual encounter and later swapped details on Snapchat. Asked whether he had held her down or forced her onto the bed, he replied: “No.”
He told the jury: “I will never force to have sex with a woman.”
The former Manchester City player broke down in tears in the dock (Peter Byrne/PA)— (PA Wire)
Over the course of the three-week re-trial, his defence lawyer argued that there was no evidence that the player was “controlling” and “violent”.
Eleanor Laws, defending, said there were “lies, inconsistencies and very strange things” in the accounts of the two women, and she denied that Mendy was a “sexual predator”.
The jury of six men and six women took around three hours and 15 minutes to return their verdicts.
Judge Steven Everett responded: “Mr Mendy can be discharged from the dock.”
This was the second trial Mendy faced trial on rape charges after he was cleared by a jury in January of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, relating to four young women or teenagers, following a six-month trial.
Jurors in that trial failed to reach verdicts on the rape and attempted rape charges heard in this trial and he was tried again.
Mendy became the world’s most expensive defender when Manchester City paid £52m to Monaco for him in 2017.
He won three Premier League titles with City and was part of France’s World Cup-winning squad in 2018. His contact with the club ended on July 1.