By Pat Hurst, PA
Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy has denied nine sexual offences against six young women.
Mendy (27) stood in the dock at Chester Crown Court and repeated: “Not guilty,” as the charges were put to him and he entered pleas for the first time.
The French international denies seven counts of rape, one count of sexual assault and one count of attempted rape, all relating to six complainants.
All the offences are alleged to have taken place at his home address and span between October 2018 and August last year.
Mendy entered his pleas during a hearing on Monday ahead of his trial, scheduled to begin later this year.
He will go before a jury on July 25th along with his co-defendant Louis Saha Matturie (40), who also entered not guilty pleas to all charges.
Matturie, of Eccles, Salford, denies eight counts of rape and four counts of sexual assault, relating to eight young women.
His alleged offences span July 2012 to August last year.
Judge Steven Everett, the Honorary Recorder of Chester, reminded reporters in the press box, including international media, that none of the women involved must be identified and reporting restrictions apply ahead of the trial.
After both defendants entered their pleas, the hearing went into private session with press excluded from the courtroom.
Mendy has played for Manchester City since 2017, when he joined from Monaco for a reported £52 million.
He was suspended by the club after being charged by police.
Both defendants are on bail.