The jury in the rape trial of Benjamin Mendy has been urged to ‘bring an end to this absolute hell’ by finding him not guilty.
His barrister, Eleanor Laws KC, told Chester Crown Court that even if he was cleared of the seven rapes and two other sex charges, the Manchester City star’s career in English football would be over.
‘His life in football, as he knew it, and in the UK is over, even if he is found not guilty,’ Ms Laws told Chester Crown Court. Search for Ched Evans. The stories and headlines will continue to exist. They can never get away.
‘Please just focus on the evidence and bring an end to this absolute hell.’
Ms Laws also told the jury in her closing speech on behalf of Mendy: ‘He is not the kind of character to deliberately harm anybody. If you are not sure he is a predatory monster, he is entitled to be acquitted.
‘It is one word against another and we say there is no strength in the prosecution case – quite the reverse.’
Ms Laws said that the prosecution’s claim that Mendy had been hiding his ‘dark side ‘ behind his celebrity status ‘like Jimmy Savile’ was ‘utterly ridiculous’.
Ms Laws also told jurors there will be ‘pressure’ on them with ‘headlines’ and people who may ‘chip in’ having read about the case but not seen witnesses tell ‘lie after lie’ in court.
She called on jurors to have ‘courage and conviction’ when considering their verdicts.
After Ms Laws’s speech, the trial judge Steven Everett told the jury they must not look up the case of Ched Evans – a Welsh footballer who had his conviction for rape overturned after serving two-and-a-half years in prison – or Jimmy Savile because they had ‘nothing whatsoever to do with this case’.
Earlier the jury heard that the alleged victims had ‘served up a toxic cesspool of gossip and lies’.
Ms Laws told the jury that the complainants either knew each other or knew of allegations made against the Manchester City defender through social media.
She told the court that one alleged victim had admitted: ‘Everyone kind of knows each other and it all gets spread around.’
Ms Laws said: ‘The press reporting of Mr Mendy’s arrest in August 2021 had a powerful effect. It served up a toxic cesspool of gossip and lies.
‘We know that these women when they meet at nightclubs they swap social media profiles and become linked up on Instagram or whatever.’
She said of the complainants: ‘Each and every one of them is unreliable.’
The barrister said the publicity ‘brought forward’ the 29-year-old woman who claimed she had been the victim of an attempted rape by Mendy at his mansion in Prestbury, Cheshire in October 2018.
‘She had gone about her life for three and a half years until she read these reports and made her allegations,’ Ms Laws told the jury.
She told the jury that a 17-year-old girl who claimed she was raped by both Mendy and his co-accused Louis Saha Matturie in August 2021 left ‘joyous’ voice notes for her friend after a party at Mendy’s £4.7million mansion.
Ms Laws claimed the teen, who told Mendy she was 21 or 22, told ‘provable lies’ and was ‘extremely excited’ about attending a party at the star’s house.
The jury heard a voice note she left the next morning in which she mentioned Mendy’s £100 million teammate Jack Grealish.
‘Honest to God, it was amazing,’ the teen was heard saying. He’s so hot. He kept winking at me and saying, “you are beautiful,” all night. Anyway, because I’m not easy, I didn’t sleep with him, but I was invited out with them next Sunday.’
Mendy is accused of seven counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, and one count of sexual assault.
Matturie, 41, of Eccles, Manchester, claims he was the victim of six rapes and three sexual assaults.