Manchester United's Mason Greenwood will "no longer be prosecuted for rape and battery".
Warning: This article contains descriptions of abuse and sexual assault.
Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood will not be charged with rape and battery after Greater Manchester Police announced on Thursday that a criminal case had been dropped.
"Given the extensive media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged as a result of the investigation which began in January 2022 and no longer faces criminal charges in this case. next," Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, GMP's head of public protection, said in a statement. "The investigative team has been in regular contact with the legal department to provide important updates, so at this stage of understanding the reasons for closing the proceedings, the decision was not taken lightly."
Greenwood was arrested a year ago after disturbing images were posted on social media showing Greenwood allegedly sexually assaulting his girlfriend. Manchester United suspended Greenwood indefinitely, and Nike suspended their partnership with Greenwood shortly after the allegations came to light.
Greenwood was later charged in October 2022 with one count of attempted rape, one count of controlling and coercive conduct and one count of battery.
The charges and the case were dropped on Thursday because "the withdrawal of key witnesses and the coming to light of new material mean there is no longer a realistic prospect of a conviction," according to a prosecutor's spokesman.
"I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support," Greenwood said in a statement to The Sun. "There will be no further comment at this time. "
United said in a statement on Thursday that the club "will now undertake its own process before deciding on next steps", but would not comment further until that process is complete.
Mason Greenwood arrested in January 2022 after allegations surfaced
Attempted rape and battery charges against Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood have been dropped.
The 21-year-old was arrested in January 2022 on charges related to the images and videos.
He was later charged with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault.
In a statement, Greenwood said he was "relieved" and thanked family and friends for their support.
Prosecutors said the charges were dropped after key witnesses withdrew their participation.
A spokesman said: "We have a duty to review cases.
“In this case, the combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and the coming to light of new material means that there is no longer a realistic prospect of a conviction. In this case, we have an obligation to close the case.
"We have explained our decision to all parties.
"We will always encourage all potential victims to come forward and report incidents to the police, and we will prosecute wherever we pass the legal test."
The footballer has not played for Manchester United since the allegations surfaced
In a statement on Greenwood's behalf, the 21-year-old said: "I am relieved 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."
The former England striker was suspended from playing or training at the Old Trafford club within hours of the allegations surfaced in early 2022.
A United representative said the club had "taken note of the prosecutor's decision to drop all charges against Mason Greenwood".
"The club will now carry out its own procedures before deciding on its next steps," they said.
"We will not be commenting further until this process is complete."
The BBC understands Greenwood will not return to training or competition until the process is complete.
Greater Manchester Police said it was "fair" to announce that Greenwood would no longer be charged.
Ch. Supt Michaela Kerr said the decision "was not taken lightly".
She added: "I would, however, like to use this opportunity to reiterate the force'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."
The 21-year-old was later charged by Greater Manchester Police, with a provisional trial date set for November 2023.
He had faced one count of attempted rape, one count of controlling and coercive behaviour and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, all against the same complainant.
However, the Crown Prosecution Service announced on Thursday that they had dropped all charges against Greenwood after a key witness withdrew their involvement.
A CPS spokesperson 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.”
Greater Manchester Police said it was ‘only fair’ to announce publicly that Greenwood would no longer face criminal proceedings.
Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, GMP’s Head of Public Protection, said: “Given the significant media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man, who had been arrested and charged in connection with an investigation opened in January 2022, no longer faces criminal proceedings in relation to this.
“The investigation team has remained in regular contact with the legal team, providing any updates of note, and so understand the rationale for the discontinuation of proceedings at this stage, and that this decision has not been taken lightly.
“Despite the media and public’s interest in this case, we have decided not to comment on it in any further detail.
“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.”
In a statement, Greenwood 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.”
In a statement, Man United 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.”