A lawyer defending Benjamin Mendy in his rape trial has urged jurors to acquit the Manchester City footballer and end his ‘absolute hell’.
The 28-year-old is charged with seven counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of sexual assault against six young women, which he denies.
Prosecutors had alleged Mr Mendy was a ‘predatory serial rapist’ who lured young women into ‘toxic and dangerous’ situations at parties.
But defense lawyer Eleanor Laws KC said claims that Mr Mendy was a predator who used his fame to attack women were “totally ridiculous”.
“He is not the type of character to deliberately harm anyone under any circumstances,” Ms Laws told jurors. “If you’re not sure it’s a predatory monster, it’s entitled to acquittal.
“It’s one word against another. His life, as he knew it, is over, in football, in the UK – these accusations he will never escape. Look for Ched Evans, men who have been falsely accused, they never escape them.
“Look what has happened since. Please focus only on the evidence and if you are unsure of these numbers please use common sense and end this absolute hell.
Ms Laws also told jurors there would be ‘pressure on you’ with ‘titles’ and people who could ‘step in’ after reading the case. She then called on jurors to show “courage and conviction” when considering their verdicts.
After Ms Laws’ closing speech, Judge Steven Everett took the jurors back to court.
Judge Everett said he hoped jurors didn’t feel “pressured or people would intervene”, adding: “If you think there’s pressure on you, put it aside. Where it is suggested that there is a weight of expectation is something I disagree with.
“Some of you may remember the case of Ched Evans. It has nothing to do with this case. So I don’t want you looking for Ched Evans, because you’re doing something I asked you not to do, look at social media.
During the trial, the jury heard personality witnesses, including Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who spoke highly of Mr Mendy.
Prosecutor Timothy Cray KC said Thursday, “For all the goodness of Benjamin Mendy’s character, there’s this dangerous streak that makes him a predatory serial rapist. We all know fame is absolutely no guarantee of good character, right? In fact, fame in general is a really good cover for people to hide the dark side of your life and get away with it.
During the trial, the jury heard of a flat rented by Mr Mendy in Manchester city centre, and his home, The Spinney, in Mottram St Andrew, was used for ‘after-parties’. Matturie, 41, is said to have been the ‘fixer’ to bring women back to parties after nights drinking in the VIP lounges of Manchester nightclubs.
In his remarks on Thursday, Mr Cray alleged: ‘The defendants had the ever-changing knowledge, control and cast of young women which gave them the opportunity to abuse that knowledge and power, control defendants on these toxic situations – they weren’t really parties.
The court previously heard that the ‘isolated’ location and design of Mr Mendy’s Mottram St Andrew mansion had helped him isolate women and make them more vulnerable to his advances, with certain locks potentially creating ‘rooms panic” if the house was broken into. .
Both defendants say any sex with the women was consensual, and Matturie, of Eccles, Salford, denies six counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault involving seven young women.
The trial was adjourned until Monday morning.
Additional reports per AP