Benjamin Mendy raped women in ‘panic rooms’, jury told |  UK news

Benjamin Mendy raped women in ‘panic rooms’, jury told | UK news

Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy raped women in the “panic room” of his isolated mansion from which they believed they could not escape, a court has heard.

The 28-year-old France international defender abused his wealth and fame to lure women back to his gated home in Cheshire and rape them when they either said no or were too drunk to consent, a jury at Chester crown court heard on Monday.

The court heard that he met many of the women in nightclubs in Manchester, often with the help of his “fixer”, Louis Saha Matturie (41), known as Saha, who is charged with him, charged with several counts of rape and sexual assault.

The pair are accused of showing “callous indifference” to the 13 young women they allegedly attacked. The sexual conquest of young women became “a game”, the court heard.

Opening the case, the prosecutor, Timothy Cray, told the jury that Mendy was a “reasonably well-known” footballer at the time of the offences, having won the World Cup with the French national team. “These days, fame brings attention. Fame also brings money. And because of this, Mendy’s wealth and status, others were prepared to help him get what he wanted,” Cray said.

One of Saha’s jobs was “to find young women and create situations where these young women could be raped and sexually assaulted”, Cray added.

In July 2021, Saha offered to pay a woman to attend a party at Mendy’s home with a friend – instead of working a shift at a nightclub, the court heard. The woman later told police that Mendy raped her in his cinema room without using a condom. Two of Mendy’s co-workers blocked her friend when she went to look for her, the jury was told.

Mendy and Saha had a common purpose, the court heard. “These women were disposable: things to be used for sex, then tossed aside,” Cray said.

Two of the women told police they were “passed between” both men at Mendy’s multi-million pound mansion, where he held pool parties. One was so drunk that she only found out that both men had had sex with her when semen from each of them was found in her panties, the court heard.

Five said they were raped or sexually assaulted solely by Mendy and six solely by Saha. The men deny all 22 charges against them.

The alleged offenses by Mendy are said to have taken place at his gated mansion in the hamlet of Mottram St Andrew, near Macclesfield, between October 2018 and 2021. The nearest village, Prestbury, was a 15-minute walk along an unlit country road, the jury heard.

Some of the women told the police that they had taken their phones off when they arrived. Ostensibly this was to protect Mendy and others from unwanted social media intrusion – “I imagine Mendy wouldn’t want Pep Guardiola to see him up late on Instagram with a bunch of girls,” Cray said – but it meant they didn’t could call for help.

One of the women, described by Cray as “the opposite of a football groupie”, said Mendy tried to rape her after she went to his house to meet another footballer.

Another told detectives she was on her period when Mendy raped her. A woman, who accuses both men of rape, was 17 at the time. One, the court heard, was sexually assaulted while “more or less minding his own business in Mendy’s kitchen”.

Two of the women said Mendy raped them in rooms they thought were locked. The jury was shown video footage of a police officer demonstrating the locks on the doors, as Cray explained that they were legally used by wealthy individuals.

“The logic is that if you’re likely to be a target for burglars, the locks effectively create a panic room that you can’t get into from the outside, but you can open them from the inside if you know what to do. The point is, you have to know how to open them from the inside, and you might want to see how the witnesses might have gotten the impression … that they’re locked in,” Cray said.

Both men knew what they were doing, Cray said. “They were not in a blissful state of sexual ignorance of how all this works – they knew very well what they were doing. They turned the pursuit of women for sex into a game, and if women were hurt or worried – too bad. Make it to go away.”

He added: “In this day and age, no one can doubt, can they, to use the common saying, that ‘no means no’? It’s no longer some kind of gray area, or some kind of open door for a man to push through anyway… You don’t lose that right because you’ve been to a bar or dressed up in a nightclub or gone to a football player’s house and you’re partying.”

Prosecutors told the jury that the defendants would likely argue that the women who alleged rape and sexual assault “consented to sex willingly, often enthusiastically,” Cray said.

The trial continues.

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