Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood has had all charges against him dropped following the “withdrawal of key witnesses”.
The 21-year-old forward faced allegations of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault with all three charges related to the same woman.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it had a “duty to stop the case” following the “withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light”.
Those developments meant there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction”, it added.
The investigation began just over a year ago, in January 2022 with a trial date earlier set for 27 November this year.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the decision to drop the charges had “not been taken lightly”.
GMP’s head of public protection, Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, said it was “only fair” that the force publicised the latest development given the “significant media coverage of this case”.
She added: “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”.
Ms Kerr did, however, appeal to people who felt they were, or might have been, a victim, reiterating GMP’s “commitment to investigating allegations of violence against women and girls”.
Also, Manchester United has not made any comments about the development yet.
It would be recalled that Greenwood has been suspended by the club since January 30 last year, with the club adding that he would not return to training or play any matches “until further notice”.
Sportswear giants, Nike, also suspended and later terminated its sponsorship deal with Greenwood, while Electronic Arts confirmed he had been removed from active squads on its FIFA 22 game.
The Bradford-born player came through the United academy and made his senior debut in a Champions League victory away to Paris Saint-Germain in March 2019.
He has one senior cap for England, playing in the Nations League match against Iceland in September 2020.
Sky Sports/Maxwell Oyekunle