Former Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy has asked for privacy to begin “rebuilding his life” after he was found not guilty on a charge of rape and a separate charge of attempted rape.
The 28-year-old former French international walked free from Chester Crown Court in northwest England on Friday following the acquittal in his second trial stemming from two charges left undecided from a previous court proceeding.
Mendy was found not guilty of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault at the same court in January. But jurors at the time failed to decide on two charges, resulting in the second trial.
Outside court, Mendy said, “Alhamdulillah,” meaning “praise be to God” in Arabic.
His lawyer Jenny Wiltshire said her client was “delighted that both juries reached the correct verdict”.
“Benjamin Mendy would like to thank the members of the jury for focusing on the evidence in this trial, rather than on the rumor and innuendo that have followed this case from the outset,” she said.
“In the three years since the police started investigating this matter, Mr. Mendy has tried to remain strong, but the process has inevitably had a serious impact on him,” she continued, adding that the footballer would now “ask for privacy so he can begin rebuilding his life.”
In a statement to CNN, the Crown Prosecution Service(CPS), which brought the charges against Mendy, said it respects the decision of the jury.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to prosecute rape cases wherever our legal test is met, no matter how challenging the case, and encourage anyone who is a victim to report to the police,” a spokesperson said.
“It is not the function of the CPS to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offense, but to make fair, independent, and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal court to consider,” it said.
Mendy, who plays as a left-back, was suspended by Manchester City in August 2021 when the original charges against him were announced. His contract with the club expired at the end of the 2022-23 season.
He began his career playing professional leagues in France for Le Havre, Olympique de Marseille, and Monaco before moving to Britain to play for Manchester City.