Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy raped women in locked ‘panic rooms’ at his secluded mansion they thought they could not escape, a court has heard.
The 28-year-old French international defender abused his wealth and fame to lure women into his gated Cheshire home and rape them when they said no or were too drunk to consent, a jury at the London Court heard on Monday. Chester.
The court heard he had met numerous women in Manchester nightclubs, often with the help of his ‘fixer’, Louis Saha Matturie, 41, known as Saha, who is on trial at his sides on multiple counts of rape and sexual assault.
The couple are accused of showing “ruthless indifference” to the 13 young women they allegedly assaulted. The sexual conquest of young women has become “a game”, the court said.
Opening the case, prosecutor Timothy Cray told the jury that Mendy was a “reasonably famous” footballer at the time of the offences, having won the World Cup with the France team. “These days, fame attracts attention. Fame also brings money. And because of that, Mendy’s wealth and status, others were willing to help him get what he wanted,” Cray said.
One of Saha’s tasks 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 with a friend – instead of working at a nightclub, the court heard. The woman later told police that Mendy raped her in his movie theater without using a condom. Two of Mendy’s associates blocked her friend when she went to pick her up, the jury was told.
Mendy and Saha had a common goal, the court said. “These women were disposable: things to use for sex and then tossed aside,” Cray said.
Two of the women told police they had been ‘passed between’ the pair at Mendy’s multi-million pound mansion, where he was hosting pool parties. One was so drunk that she only found out the two men had sex with her when semen from each was found in her panties, the court heard.
Five said they had been raped or sexually assaulted only by Mendy and six only by Saha. The men deny all 22 charges against them.
Mendy’s alleged offenses allegedly took 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 away along a road from uninformed campaign, the jury heard.
Some of the women told the police that their phones were taken away from them when they arrived. Apparently it was to protect Mendy and others from unwanted social media intrusion – “I guess Mendy didn’t want Pep Guardiola to see him late on Instagram with a bunch of girls,” Cray said – but it also left them unable to 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 the two men of rape, was 17 at the time. One, the court heard, was sexually assaulted while “more or less minding her own business in Mendy’s kitchen”.
Two of the women said Mendy raped them in locked rooms – an office and the master bedroom.
Both men knew what they were doing, Cray said. “They weren’t in a happy state of sexual ignorance about how it all works – they knew very well what they were doing. They turned the pursuit of women for sex into a game, indeed, and if the women were hurt or in distress – so be it.
He added: “Nowadays 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 that a man can walk through regardless… You don’t lose that right because you’ve been to a bar or dressed for a nightclub or gone to a footballer and you party.
The prosecutor told the jury that the defendants were likely to argue that women alleging rape and sexual assault “consented to sex of their own free will, often enthusiastically,” Cray said.
The trial continues.