Footballer, Benjamin Mendy is not a ‘s£xual predator’ and ‘moral judgements’ about his lifestyle and wanting lots of sex with many different women should not be used against him, a jury heard today.
The ex-Manchester City footballer, 28, is accused of carrying out sex attacks on two women at his £4m mansion.
French international Mendy allegedly attempted to rape a 29-year-old woman who had stayed overnight at the property in October 2018.
In her closing speech, Eleanor Laws, defending, told the jury that they had heard a lot from the prosecution about Mendy’s views on women, how he treated them, his personality and ‘big ego’, and ‘what Mendy wants, Mendy gets’.
But there was no evidence he’s like that, she said, beyond an acceptance what the two complaints had said was true.
Ms Laws said there were ‘lies, inconsistencies and very strange things’ in their accounts and it was the jury’s role to question the evidence in the case.
She said the prosecution were not seeking to prove Mendy was a ‘wealthy footballer with status and likes to have a lot of sex with a lot of different women’ and he sometimes had sex with women his friends had sex with.
Mendy had admitted that was ‘his life’ at the time of the allegations and to having gatherings and lockdown parties at his home, she told the jury.
She said: ‘But what you haven’t heard is any other evidence that he is controlling, violent and what Mr Mendy wants, Mr Mendy gets and he doesn’t care about consent.
‘Doesn’t care about feelings has been turned into doesn’t care about consent, which are two very different things.’
She also cautioned the jury about making assumptions about someone’s lifestyle, or attitude towards sex or women that may be ‘alien’ to most people and making a further assumption that made them a ‘sexual predator’.
Ms Laws said the jury may have thought it ‘distasteful’ to hear Mendy’s evidence when he spoke of his love of partying, was not looking for a relationship and ‘liked having sex, meeting different women and having a lot of sex, and with women he had just met.’
She said the reality was Mendy was young man, with wealth and status, which were ‘attractive’.
‘It may have sounded arrogant to anyone not walking in his footsteps but those sort of sexual encounters were not difficult for him to engage in,’ she told the jury.
She added: ‘It may be a masculine thing. But the reality is there were women who were engaging and consenting as well.
‘So that sort of judgement, in relation to a moral judgement, whatever one thinks, please we ask you to put it to one side.
‘Because we live in a world where there are men and women who engage in a particular lifestyle and enjoy sex in a way perhaps their parents and grandparent couldn’t conceive.
‘But that is the real world.’
The jury heard how he met the first woman at a nightclub in Barcelona in October 17 when she became ‘intimate’ with one of his friends Diacko Fofana, another French footballer.
The woman kept in touch with Fofana and arranged to meet up with him at Mendy’s mansion a year later.
The three went clubbing in Manchester with the woman staying over with Fofana in a bedroom of the property that night.
It’s alleged Mendy went the bedroom ‘aroused’ the next morning as the woman showered and then tried to rape her before she was able to struggle free.
The woman told the jury she was left ‘shocked’ and ‘confused’ by her ordeal.
But Mendy claims he asked her if she wanted to have sex and she only became upset after telling her that he’d asked for Fofana’s permission.
Mendy met the second woman while she was out with friends at a bar in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, the jury heard.
The group went back to Mendy’s home, where Mendy took the woman’s phone after accusing her of taking photos inside.
Mendy is said to have looked at ‘intimate’ photos of the woman and when she followed him to get her phone back led her into his locked bedroom.
He allegedly told the woman to strip if she wanted her phone back before throwing it on the bed.
The woman told the jury that Mendy got behind her as she went to retrieve it and he raped her, despite her repeatedly telling him that she didn’t want to have sex.
But Mendy claims the woman consented to the sexual encounter and they later swapped details on Snapchat.
At the start of the trial, Judge Stephen Everett, the Recorder of Chester, told the jury that Mendy was found not guilty of sexual offences against women after a previous trial which ended in January.
The judge also told the jury that Mendy had been acquitted of raping the second woman twice.
But the jury in the previous trial could not agree verdicts on the two allegations he faces at his retrial.
The judge said the jury should not ‘speculate’ why Mendy was cleared of previous allegations and concern themselves only with the current allegations.