RMC SPORT INQUIRY – On July 25, Benjamin Mendy will appear in court in Chester, England, for the opening of his trial, which is expected to last several weeks. The former French international is accused of eight rapes, an attempted rape and a sexual assault. The ten counts brought against him relate to events that allegedly took place between October 2018 and August 2021 at his home in Prestbury, Cheshire. RMC Sport tried to better understand the personality of the former defender.
In October 2018, Benjamin Mendy was on the front page of the football magazine ‘Onze Mondial’. In this review, the 2018 World Champion distilled good advice for managing the careers of young footballers. “For the education of young people, the image we send back is very important. Many like to do the same thing as footballers. So if we can send back a good image and transmit positive messages and hope through our behavior, it’s great,” described the former AS Monaco.
Four years later, on the eve of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the native of Longjumeau is at the heart of legal news in England. An unexpected stop, in an extraordinary journey. Accused of eight rapes, an attempted rape and a sexual assault, the player has always denied the facts and pleaded not guilty during the pretrial hearings for his trial.
The case fascinates England
For several months, RMC Sport has collected testimonies to try to understand the personality of Benjamin Mendy. “The truth will come out when he is judged”, answer us most of the time the relatives of the former French international. Other people go into more detail about their relationships. Across the Channel, the case fascinates the English tabloids. Paparazzi are very often present in front of his house, ultra-secure, near Manchester.
“Football is the number one sport in the UK and this case involves a top Premier League footballer,” said Pat Hurst, who is covering the case for PA Media. “There is already huge public interest in the case and enormous media interest as well. At all of the preliminary hearings, journalists, both English and French, were present. I expect there will be both increased and continued media and public interest during this trial.”
“It’s a good living”
To draw the portrait and the personality of Benjamin Mendy, it is often necessary to show patience and refusal. Relatives never want to appear in the media. “How do you want to talk about this publicly? It’s grilling for the rest of a life, especially if he is sentenced in a few months”, confides a former close friend of Benjamin Mendy, with whom he shared many evenings in the nightclubs of the capital.
While remaining anonymous, some are still present to defend the player. Relatives have not all cut ties with the defender. “He is such a humble, respectful, kind person that I find it hard to believe everything that has been said, says a friend of Mendy. I was really shocked to learn all the stories that were said. , because it is not at all the Benjamin that I could know.” To defend the player, all question the versions given by the alleged victims since the beginning of the case. “The truth is that Ben is not a rapist, far from it. It’s all bullshit,” says a friend of the former Manchester City. Before continuing his reasoning: “I think there are a lot of people who can play on this kind of situation in order to receive compensation and obtain notoriety.”
Deschamps sounded the alarm
The generosity of the player is the first character trait that emerges from the exchanges. “He’s a great person, confides this young woman who knows the player well. He’s someone who has his heart on his sleeve, always smiling, he’s a beautiful person. He loves his job, his family, he is a kind person, always there to help others.” By dint of questioning the relatives of the player, the same compliments come back each time: “Humble, respectful and kind.” Very few evoke the other side of the player, the party specialist and the reality TV enthusiast.
Just after the World Cup in Russia, in October 2018, Didier Deschamps sent a first message to the Manchester City player, caught up in his lack of seriousness for an international player. An alert that did not change the defender. “He is someone who has physical qualities above average, but the requirements of the very high level … It will come, I do not despair that he will put them in his brain, had lamented Deschamps It’s up to him to realize that he has to take care of his body on and off the pitch. He knows it, I told him, I told him again and again, I think someone also told him in his daily life .” As a result, the player will experience many physical problems that will keep him away from the field for several weeks.
reality tv man
For several years, there has been a rapprochement between the world of football and that of the participants of reality TV shows. “Mendy is the perfect example of this,” says a former Ligue 1 player. For several years, Benjamin Mendy has often forged relationships (intimate or friendly) with young girls from reality TV shows. The player has never hidden this desire in private. “I know him personally, confides a young woman, who has participated in numerous reality TV shows, to RMC Sport. I have already had several sexual relations with him, three in total, and he has always been insistent . Besides, I never kept any contact with him.”
“In a few years, he went from great hope of French football, to pariah of the world of football… he was unable to make this transition between OM / Monaco and Manchester City”, describes a former OM player with whom Mendy evolved. Some friends describe Mendy as a “party addict” who could “fly to many parties on a private jet”.
Another relative of the player confides to RMC Sport: “Perhaps his problem is that he was too accessible for people. He has a strong notoriety which means that he should not mix with everyone. His story is proof of that.” In his inner circle, it is said that he exchanged “almost daily” with people from reality TV.
What does Mendy risk during his trial?
“It’s hard to say without knowing more about the facts of the case, says the English lawyer, Richard Furlong. I would say that if he were found guilty of everything after a trial, it is likely to consider a double-digit prison sentence (i.e. more than 10 years) but that’s very speculative.” This decision will be made during the trial in July. In England, rape and sexual assault are severely punished by the courts. England also applies an accumulation of sentences. “English justice severely punishes rape and sexual assault, concedes Maître Alain-Christian Monkam. What is important in this case concerning Benjamin Mendy is that there are many victims. He is in great difficulty, he must be said very frankly.”
“The sentences are consecutive, the court must bear in mind the principle of totality. This means that the total sentence must be proportionate, says Richard Furlong. In other words, if he is found guilty of eight rapes, of which each would warrant a 10 year sentence, they will not get a total sentence of 80. The fact that someone has committed eight offenses will be used to increase the total sentence by 10 years in the range of the offense, and can -be outside the range. So for eight offenses, the sentence can be increased to 13 or 14 years. This is an example to better understand.”
Master Karim Morand-Lahouazi concludes: “The system is based above all on the fundamental principle according to which the total penalty must be fair and proportionate. Therefore, if this is not the case after applying the rules relating to accumulation or confusion, the judge has a power of appreciation which should normally lead him either to reduce the total penalty resulting from an accumulation (the single maximum ceiling then being in these circumstances the sum of the initial penalties), or to increase that resulting of confusion.”
In July, Benjamin Mendy will be tried alongside Louis Saha Matturie (no relation to the former footballer). The debates should mainly revolve around the consent of the victims. Contacted, Benjamin Mendy’s English lawyers did not wish to speak before the trial and the defender is still presumed innocent.