Pat Hurst, PA
The jury in the trial of Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy has retired to consider their verdicts.
Mendy (28) and his co-accused, Louis Saha Matturie (41) have been on trial at Chester Crown Court since August 10, accused of multiple sex offences against young women.
Both men deny all offences.
Judge Steven Everett, the Recorder of Chester, told the eight men and four women on the jury that if verdicts had not been reached this week, with the court not sitting on Friday or the following week, they will come back to court on December 19th to continue deliberations.
“There is no pressure of time,” he added. “Don’t feel under any pressure.”
Prosecutors claim Mendy was a sexual “predator” of young women, who were raped or sexually assaulted during post-nightclubbing “after parties” at his £4.7 million home, The Spinney, near Prestbury in Cheshire.
Matturie is alleged to have been the footballer’s friend and “fixer”, who arranged for women to attend the parties after nights spent drinking in VIP lounges at Manchester nightclubs.
Thirteen women had accused the defendants of sexual offences.
Part way through the trial, the judge ordered the jury to find the defendants not guilty on all charges relating to one of the women, after a “sex video” emerged of her having “willing” sex with Matturie at a time she claimed he had raped her.
Mendy told the jury he now regretted his partying lifestyle, but denied ever forcing any woman into sex.
Matturie did not go into the witness box, but also denies any wrongdoing.
Both defendants say any sex with women was consensual.
Mendy denies seven counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of sexual assault against six young women.
Matturie, of Eccles, Salford, denies six counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault relating to seven young women.
The trial continues.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800-77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.