Mason Greenwood in clear as attempted rape case dropped
Mason Greenwood, the Manchester United footballer, has had all criminal charges against him dropped after key witnesses in his attempted rape case withdrew from his prosecution.
The 21-year-old striker, who earned £75,000 a week, was charged in October and had been due to stand trial later this year.
He was accused of attempted rape, engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
But on Thursday afternoon the Crown Prosecution Service announced that the case had been discontinued following a legal review of the evidence.
A spokesman said the decision of key witnesses to withdraw from the case and the emergence of new evidence meant it was no longer felt there was a realistic prospect of conviction.
The spokesman said: “We have a duty to keep cases under continuous review. In this case a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.
“In these circumstances, we are under a duty to stop the case. We have explained our decision to all parties.
“We would always encourage any potential victims to come forward and report to police and we will prosecute wherever our legal test is met.”
In a statement following the announcement, Greenwood expressed his relief at the decision.
He said: "I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support. There will be no further comment at this time."
Greenwood, who has been capped for England, was arrested last January when allegations emerged accusing him of rape and assault.
He was suspended by Manchester United at the time on full pay, while Greater Manchester Police (GMP) investigated the allegations.
He was rearrested several days later following allegations that he had made threats to kill.
In October last year, following an allegation that he had breached his bail conditions, Greenwood was charged with one count of attempted rape, one count of controlling and coercive behaviour and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
GMP, which conducted the lengthy investigation into the allegations, said it understood why the decision to drop the case had been taken, adding that it was not something that had been done lightly.
Chief Supt Michaela Kerr, GMP’s head of public protection, said: “I would, however, like to use this opportunity to reiterate GMP’s commitment to investigating allegations of violence against women and girls and supporting those affected, regardless of their circumstances, throughout what can be a hard and upsetting time for them.
“An ever increasing number of officers are receiving specialist training and the force is more consistently utilising tools, available via the criminal justice system, to keep people safe and care for victims. If you feel you are or might be a victim, please don’t let this case put you off asking for help.”
Despite criminal proceedings now being at an end, the footballer’s future with Manchester United remains uncertain.
It is understood he will not return to training or playing for the time being, while the club carries out an internal review of his alleged conduct.
A spokesman said: “Manchester United notes the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service that all charges against Mason Greenwood have been dropped.
“The club will now conduct its own process before determining next steps. We will not make any further comment until that process is complete.”
It is understood the club will carry out an internal investigation.