First of all “huge grid”which automatically opened onto a large residence “lost in the middle of nowhere”. Then a decor ” very modern “, with lots of wood. In the basement, the swimming pool, a gym and a cinema room. Upstairs, bedrooms, with an interior locking system that allows you to barricade yourself in the event of an attack. To listen to one of his alleged victims, who testified on Thursday August 18, it was in this luxury villa that the trap set by Benjamin Mendy closed.
It has been four days since the trial of the French footballer began in the court of Chester, in the north of England. The former international is accused of eight rapes, an attempted rape and a sexual assault on seven women, between 2018 and 2021. During these first days of hearing, the prosecutor presented the accusation against the 28-year-old defender, suspended for a year by his club, Manchester City. The first testimonies of the plaintiffs have also begun.
According to prosecutor Timothy Cray, Mr Mendy was a “predator”, who had set up a system to systematically bring young women home. The task of tout fell to Louis Saha Matturie (no connection with footballer Louis Saha), his friend, to whom he paid for an apartment in Manchester. The latter is also accused of eight rapes and four sexual assaults on eight women.
“Saying no was not an option”
The objective of the two men was to start the party with these young women – average age at the time of the events, 20 years and 9 months – in a bar or a club in Manchester, before inviting them to Mr. Mendy in the countryside, south of the city, when they were sometimes already drunk. “The house was in a rural road, without public lighting, recalls Mr. Cray. The nearest village was Prestbury, a fifteen minute walk away. The isolated location and the impossibility of going anywhere else on foot reinforced the impression of the witnesses of feeling trapped or isolated. » Once there, their phone was confiscated, officially to prevent photos of the star from leaking. Then, Messrs. Mendy and Matturie “did not accept being told no, or fabricated situations where saying no was not an option”, continues the prosecutor.
On Thursday, Complainant ‘A’ (none of whom can be named, as is always the case in UK rape trials) told how she found herself in this situation. One Sunday evening in October 2020, a friend of hers invited her to a trendy bar in Manchester. Mr. Mendy, whom she did not know, was there, as were other footballers. With her phone, she then sends a message to a friend, evoking the phrase of a song, “a footballer for the winter”that is, the possibility of having a football player as a boyfriend.
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