Embattled Manchester City ace Benjamin Mendy was moved to top-security prison just days before Christmas amid fears over his safety it has been revealed.
The 27-year-old, who is now accused of seven counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, was switched to the notorious HMP Prison Manchester, commonly referred to as Strangeways, on December 23.
The footballer was moved to the high-security men’s prison in Manchester from HMP Altcourse in Liverpool a day after the seventh rape charge was brought against him.
Mendy’s co-defendant, Louis Saha Matturie, 40, is also understood to have been moved to the Category A prison at the same time, The Sun reports.
A source told The Sun: ‘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.’
Last month the footballer was charged with a seventh count of rape from a new complainant.
The charges now relate to five complainants over the age of 16 and are alleged to have taken place between October 2020 and August 2021.
Co-defendant Louis Saha Matturie, 40, is charged with six counts of rape and one of sexual assault.
The charges against him relate to four complainants over the age of 16 and are alleged to have taken place between March 2021 and August 2021.
Mendy and Matturie were due to stand trial on January 24, but last month judge Patrick Thompson said that date looked ‘unrealistic’.
The French international was previously held in custody at HMP Altcourse, in Liverpool, after being charged with four counts of rape and one sexual assault on August 26.
At a previous hearing, his lawyer Christopher Stables said that he strenuously denied the allegations.
Premier League champions City spent a reported £49.2million signing Mendy from French side Monaco in 2017.