A jury in the UK on Friday cleared Manchester City and France footballer Benjamin Mendy of six counts of rape and one of sexual assault against four women, following a six-month trial.
The former French international slumped with his head in his hands as he was cleared unanimously of six counts of rape and one of sexual assault at Chester Crown Court.
However, the 28-year-old will face a second trial after the jury was unable to reach verdicts on a charge of raping one woman and attempting to rape another.
Prosecutors said afterwards they would seek a retrial on those counts.
“We have made a decision today, which is to proceed on these counts in two separate trials,” prosecutor Matthew Conway told Chester Crown Court.
During a six-month trial, prosecutors told the jury Mr Mendy was a “predator” who turned the pursuit of women for sex into a game.
But jurors were also told by defence lawyers that while the trial, involving money, sex and celebrity, had “all the makings of good drama”, it came with a significant “plot twist”- that the accused were innocent.
Mendy was accused alongside Louise Saha Matturie, 41, an alleged “fixer”, who was found not guilty by the jury of three counts of rape relating to two teenagers.
In a statement issued by his solicitors after the verdicts, Mendy said he was “delighted” with the acquittals. The footballer “looks forward to clearing his name” on the two remaining counts so he can start rebuilding his life, the statement said.
Mendy will go on trial over the two remaining charges on 26 June- two and half years after he was first arrested.
Source: News24 Sport, BBC News, The Guardian, IOL, Eyewitness News, image from Twitter: @Aadozo