Benjamin Mendy’s five-month trial has lifted the lid on his private life off the pitch and offered a unique ‘keyhole’ access to his home and inner circle.
The jury heard the defense attorney’s calls: “I told her, ‘Show me your ass.’ She showed me her ass and I said, ‘Do you want to have sex?'” They found he had never used birth control, despite regularly sleeping with several women during the night. They heard that Mendy and his friends sometimes had sex with the same women at night, although separately.
The case began with the prosecution giving the jury a video tour of his mansion, called Spinney, which Mendy bought for £4.8m in November 2017, shortly after he was signed by Manchester City for £52m. It was the first property he had seen, he told the court, and he immediately bought it.
The footage, captured on a police body camera, began outside, where a yellow Lamborghini was among the many cars in the driveway. He then showed the jury the basement, where Mendy had a swimming pool, hot tub, sauna and home gym, as well as a football pitch. Mendy’s paintings and various graphics bearing his name could be seen on the walls. A huge room was set up on the first floor as a nursery for his young child.
Mendy liked expensive things but was generous with his possessions, the court heard. His assistant Jodie Deakin said she once saw him take off a designer tracksuit and give it to a homeless man in Manchester. Brands sent him piles of unsolicited clothing, which patrons often wore if their own got wet at one of his pool parties.
City manager Pep Guardiola said of Mendy: “He’s a really good boy, I would say, so generous. I think he’s happy and I remember when we were together and everyone would ask for a favor and he would do it.”
But the players, often picked for greatness before they even hit their teens, were often treated like children, not expected to be able to manage their own lives. The image that emerged at Menda’s trial was of a spoiled prince who was never expected to live as an adult. Deakin described having to deal with payment demands that came into Mendy’s mansion when he ran out of money to pay for renovations. Despite earning huge sums, he couldn’t keep track of his spending – he only learned the value of money in prison when he was earning £4 a day, he admitted.
Deakin described a flamboyant figure who liked to stand out. “You can tell it’s a footballer a mile away because they all have a similar dress sense. It drips into the designer. A lot of girls would be attracted to that look,” she told the jury.
Although Mendy was popular with City staff, according to Marc Boixasa, former head of first team operations and support, he “wasn’t the perfect professional”. “On the one hand, he was really liked by everyone in the team dressing room, the players and the staff. Sometimes his professionalism was questionable, arriving late in the morning or arriving late for some meetings.’
It was not surprising that Mendy was often late for training – the jury heard he often partied until dawn despite having to get up for early morning training. His guests will have to continue the party or have their private chef prepare breakfast for them. They were often still at Spinney when he returned.
His cleaner, Yvonne Shea, was well aware of his wild parties and occasionally showed up to clean up the aftermath.
She described visiting the player’s home in Prestbury after the party. Asked what she saw when she walked into the house, Shea said, “Disaster. Bottles everywhere, food everywhere. The glass table top was broken. It was like windshield glass, so it was everywhere.”
Various women were wandering around trying to find their purses, she said. Mendy operated what appeared to be an open door policy at Spinney.
They were part of the ‘Manchester scene’, meeting in nightclubs such as Chinawhite in central Manchester or Parea in Alderley Edge, a Cheshire suburb favored by Manchester’s rich and especially the players of the city’s two football clubs. The jury heard that they are places where if you want a table, a liter of vodka can cost many hundreds of pounds, champagne a thousand or more.
Covid has brought Manchester’s scene to a standstill – at least in public. However, the parties continued at Mendy’s mansion after he was fined by the police for breaking the rules of blocking private gatherings.
It was only when he sat in a jail cell after his arrest for alleged sex offenses that Mendy had time to think about his life, he told the jury. It was then that he realized that the way he and his friends talked about women back then was “disrespectful and wrong”.
Mendy told the jury he knew women were mostly interested in him because he was a famous footballer. He tasted the limelight during his early years at Monaco, but when he joined Manchester City in 2017, he said the attention became “10 times bigger”.
He said: “The way they came to me is not because of my looks, it’s because of football.”
Asked about his attitude to sex with women he didn’t know very well, he said: “At the time I didn’t think about how they felt or how they might be upset, because for me, if they wanted to have sex and I wanted to, everything was fine and I would continue my party.’
On Friday, Mendy was acquitted of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault. The jury did not reach a verdict on charges of raping one woman and attempting to rape another.