Almost a year after his arrest, Benjamin Mendy is facing justice. The trial of the footballer, a former French international who played for Manchester City, begins on Wednesday August 10 at the court in Chester, in the north-west of England. The person concerned is at very high risk: he is accused by seven women of eight rapes, an attempted rape and a sexual assault.
He will appear with a co-accused, Louis Saha Matturie (no link with former footballer Louis Saha), who is indicted for eight rapes and four sexual assaults on eight women.
Thirteen women are potentially their victims: two of them would have been raped during the summer of 2021 by the two men on the same day, one in July and the other in August. The 28-year-old footballer and his 40-year-old friend face life imprisonment, with a safe period of up to nineteen years.
Rarely has a fall been so dizzying. Only four years ago, Benjamin Mendy celebrated the victory of the French team in the final of the World Cup, in Russia, even though he had only played forty minutes during the tournament.
A year ago, on August 15, 2021, in the first game of the Premier League season, he was still playing in his role as left-back of Manchester City, the team of Pep Guardiola, then champions of England in title. His career had certainly been up and down in previous seasons, due to serious injuries, but he remained a key man for one of the best teams in the world.
This meeting against Tottenham, during which he was replaced in the 79th minute, remains his last appearance on the pitch. The day of the match, the case is not yet public, but the footballer is already accused of rape by at least two women. A British judge has decided to release him on parole while the investigation progresses. However, he imposes several conditions on him, including the prohibition to organize new parties at his house.
Benjamin Mendy does not take this into account. On August 23, 2021, according to the prosecution, he did it again at home. The Frenchman and Louis Saha Matturie allegedly raped a young woman from Manchester on several occasions that day. Three days later, the footballer was arrested and remanded in custody.
The complicated choice of jurors
Since then, the case has only grown heavier. Month after month, new charges were added, each time postponing the start of the trial. In the end, the complaints cover events that allegedly took place in October 2018, October 2020, January and July 2021. A final accusation was added two months ago. After spending five months in preventive detention, Benjamin Mendy was released, the judge nevertheless prohibiting him from leaving British territory.
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