PREM rape charge star Benjamin Mendy has been switched to one of Britain’s grimmest jails amid fears for his safety.
The Manchester City defender, 27, spent Christmas at top-security prison Strangeways.
The French international, who is accused of seven counts of rape, was driven to Manchester from Liverpool’s category-B HMP Altcourse on December 23.
His co-defendant, Louis Saha Matturie, 40, is also understood to have been moved there at the same time. Last night sources said the switch, the day after a seventh rape charge was brought against Mendy, came as fears grew over his safety inside.
One said: “Both Mendy and Matturie have been moved because their case is so high profile. That can lead to safety and prisoner management issues and it was felt Category A conditions might be better equipped to deal with any potential issues.
“The Prison Service has a responsibility to manage prisoners in the safest way possible.” A source familiar with Strangeways, also called HMP Manchester, said Mendy may still be in for a rough time.
An inspection last September found many of its 624 lags were locked up for 22 hours a day. It has previously housed April Jones’ murderer Mark Bridger and one-eyed cop killer Dale Cregan.
The source said: “He won’t know what’s hit him coming from Altcourse, which is a privately run prison. It’s one of the toughest jails in the country. His other problem will be the amount of Man United fans in there.
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"They will be screaming his name for weeks so he won’t be getting much sleep, especially as he’s charged with sex offences. There are a lot of Blues’ fans there as well, but even the most avid will struggle to protect an alleged sex offender.”
Mendy, of Prestbury, Cheshire, is accused of seven counts of rape involving four women. He is also facing a charge of sexual touching against a fifth.
Matturie, of Eccles, Gtr Manchester, faces six counts of rape and one sexual assault. They next appear in court on Friday.
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