A chilling presentation. British prosecutor Timothy Cray gave a detailed account of the sexual violence charges against Benjamin Mendy on Monday, August 15. The French footballer has been appearing since August 10 in court in Chester, in the north of England, for eight charges of rape, an attempted rape and a sexual assault on seven women. The facts reported run from October 2018 to August 2021. Benjamin Mendy appears alongside Louis Saha Matturie, 41, accused of eight rapes and four sexual assaults committed between July 2012 and August 2021.
“The case is simple”prosecutor Timothy Cray told jurors. “It doesn’t have much to do with football. It is indeed another chapter in a very old story: men who rape and attack women because they think they have power and because they think they’ll get away with it.” The two men, presented by the prosecutor as “predators ready to commit serious sexual abuse”plead not guilty to the charges for which they are being prosecuted.
Women “vulnerable, terrified and isolated”, according to the prosecutor
Before the jury, the prosecutor went into detail about the charges against Benjami, Mendy. The footballer is accused of raping and assaulting seven women “vulnerable, terrified and isolated”, between October 2018 and August 2021, in the words of the magistrate. Some “were drunk and remembered little or nothing, or were sleeping, or waking up”added the prosecutor.
Timothy Cray notably echoed the testimony of one of the seven victims. She says she expressed her refusal to have sex on several occasions, while she was in the private cinema room of the player’s residence. The victim “kept making it clear that she didn’t want to have sex while he was raping her”added the magistrate.
During this day of hearing, the jurors also heard the account of the night of July 23 to 24, 2021, where Benjamin Mendy had organized a party around his swimming pool, before going to a Manchester nightclub. The sportsman is accused of having committed three rapes during this evening: one at his home and two in the nightclub. One of the complainants, then drunk, reports finding herself on a sofa, on her stomach, her arms held behind her back. She claims that Benjamin Mendy kept telling her not to move while he raped her.
The other defendant charged with “finding young women”
The prosecutor also returned to the links between the two defendants. Louis Saha Matturie, implicated in eight rapes and four sexual assaults, is described as close to the footballer, whose role is close to that of a tout. Still according to the prosecutor, he was in charge of “to find young women and create situations where they could be raped and sexually assaulted”.
At the time of the events described, the footballer knew “a period of success” and enjoyed a and “privileged life”said Timothy Cray. “The doors of restaurants and nightclubs were open to him, people wanted to be with him” and Louis Saha Maturie “was part of this world, contacting the girls, calling them”, he described. For the magistrate, the two men “Knew very well what they were doing” and were “ready to cross the line” consent “again and again”.
“Panic rooms” in the player’s mansion
In the majority of the accounts of the victims, the sexual violence took place behind closed doors at the home of Benjamin Mendy in Prestbury, in the county of Cheshire, in the north-west of England. The footballer’s house is presented as a particularly isolated mansion, which makes “part and parcel of how the defendants took control of the victims”said the prosecutor.
As reported by Guardian (link in english), two women said Benjamin Mendy raped them in rooms they believed to be locked. And for good reason, several parts of the building were equipped with a special locking mechanism transforming them into “panic room” in case of burglary. “The locks indeed create panic (…) because you cannot enter from the outside, but you can open them from the inside if you know how to do it”describes Timothy Cray, while videos shot at the home of the footballer by police were broadcast showing this lock system.
Laptops confiscated from some victims
The prosecutor also revealed that some of the complainants had their phones confiscated when they arrived at Benjamin Mendy’s. A confiscation justified by a need to protect the image of the athlete on social networks, which would have deprived young women of any means of communication, in an already particularly isolated mansion.
The account of the evening of October 11, 2020 made by the prosecutor supports this observation. After a night out at a bar in Alderley Edge, two friends reunite at the footballer’s and are asked to put down their phones, but one of them is caught texting. Benjamin Mendy would then have confiscated the device, relates The Team. The complainant, who claims to have repeatedly expressed her refusal of any sexual act, says that she was then raped while trying to recover her phone. “In our time, no one can ignore that no means no”insisted on recalling Timothy Cray before the jury.
The trial, which began on August 10, should make it possible to establish the responsibilities of the two men and should last more than three months. Benjamin Mendy faces life imprisonment.