Benjamin Mendy remanded in custody on rape charges

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The Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy has been remanded in custody after appearing in court charged with four counts of rape and a sexual assault.

The French international defender is accused of offences against three women, including one aged under 18, a court heard on Friday.

One of the alleged rapes is said to have taken place at Mendy’s home in Cheshire this week when he was on police bail for other sexual offences, Chester magistrates court was told.

The three other counts of rape date to October 2020, and the sexual assault is alleged to have taken place in January this year.

Mendy, who had been expected to feature in Manchester City’s squad to face Arsenal on Saturday until he was charged, will spend at least the bank holiday weekend in custody after a judge refused his application for bail.

He is next due in court on 10 September, and he could be in custody at least until then unless his legal team appeals against the bail refusal. Any appeal would not be heard before early next week.

Mendy, wearing a red Balenciaga hoodie and black Adidas jogging trousers, stood expressionless with his arms folded as the charges were put to him by the court clerk via a French interpreter.

Debbie Byrne, prosecuting, said Mendy was originally arrested and released under investigation on 11 November last year on suspicion of rape. In January, he was further arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, the court was told.

Byrne said one of Mendy’s bail conditions was that he should not have house parties. She said police were called to a party attended by up to 21 people at Mendy’s home in the Cheshire village of Mottram St Andrew this week. He was then arrested over a further allegation of rape and for allegedly breaching his bail conditions, the court heard.

The prosecutor said Mendy had shown an an unwillingness to comply with his bail conditions, and he should be remanded in custody to prevent him from carrying out further offences.

She said: “The defendant has shown total disregard and, the crown will say, an arrogance in ignoring the bail conditions and continuing to conduct his social life as he chooses.”

Mendy sat beside two court officers in the glass-fronted dock as his barrister, Christopher Stables, asked the judge not to remand the footballer in custody. Stables said Mendy had already been in custody for “two days and two nights” while awaiting Friday’s hearing, and it had been a “real shock” for him.

He said the experience “has served as a tough lesson of just what can happen if bail conditions are not adhered to”, and that if granted bail on Friday the footballer would know it was “in effect his last chance”.

Stables said Mendy was willing to transfer £50,000 immediately to the court as security if he was granted bail, as well as surrendering to “what might best be described as house arrest” with a lengthy curfew and electronic tag.

The lawyer said Mendy was willing to live at a “much smaller” property owned by an unnamed friend, a “positive influence”, on the other side of Manchester.

However, the district judge, Jack McGarva, said he was not satisfied that Mendy would not commit further offences if allowed to leave court on bail. Mendy showed no reaction as he was led to the court cells.

Stables told the court that Mendy’s trial “will be many, many months away, well into the new year,” raising the prospect that he could be in custody for several months unless a more senior judge overturns the decision on Friday.

The full-back was named as a substitute for Manchester City’s most recent game, against Norwich last Saturday, and has played five times for his club since July. He joined Manchester City from Monaco in 2017 for a reported £52m, which was then a record for a defender.