A jury at Chester Crown Court has found former Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy not guilty of rape and attempted rape.
Mendy, 30, was accused of raping a 24-year-old woman in a bedroom at his home in Cheshire in October 2020. He was also accused of attempting to rape a 17-year-old girl at his home in August 2021.
The jury deliberated for more than 10 hours before returning their verdicts on Friday morning.
Mendy’s lawyer, Priya Gopaldas QC, said her client was “delighted” with the verdicts.
“He has always maintained his innocence and the jury has found him not guilty of these very serious allegations,” she said.
“He would like to thank his legal team for their tireless work and his family and friends for their support throughout this difficult time.”
The prosecution had alleged that Mendy had used his position of power and influence to coerce the two women into having sex with him.
However, the defense argued that the women had consented to sex and that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by Mendy.
The jury found Mendy not guilty on both counts.
He was released from custody immediately after the verdicts were announced.
Mendy’s acquittal comes after a long and difficult legal process. He was first arrested in August 2021 and charged with four counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.
He was then re-arrested in January 2022 and charged with two further counts of rape.
Mendy’s trial began in January 2023 and lasted for six weeks.
The verdicts on Friday bring to an end a major legal case that has been closely followed by the football world.
Mendy is now free to resume his career. He is currently a free agent, having been released by Manchester City in May 2022.
It remains to be seen whether he will be able to find a new club. However, the verdicts on Friday will certainly give him a boost in his quest to return to football.