Paedophile football coach Barry Bennell is jailed for four more years

Paedophile football coach Barry Bennell is jailed for four more years

Serial paedophile football coach Barry Bennell, 66, is jailed for four more years for nine sexual offences taking his total sentence to 34 years behind bars

  • He pleaded guilty to three counts of buggery and six counts of indecent assault
  • Ex-Crewe coach appeared via videolink from HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire
  • Bennell, 66, was already serving 30 years for 52 child sexual offences in 2018
  • Latest sentence will be served consecutively to current prison term, judge says

Former football coach and serial paedophile Barry Bennell was today sentenced to his fifth jail term – four years in prison for nine sexual offences against two boys.

The 66-year-old former Crewe Alexandra coach had pleaded guilty to three counts of buggery and six counts of indecent assault at an earlier hearing in July.

Today, he appeared via videolink from HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire, where he is serving a 30-year sentence after being convicted of 52 child sexual offences in 2018.

The court heard Bennell had a detached retina after being attacked in prison and was in remission from cancer. Four of his victims were in court for the sentencing.

Judge Patrick Thompson said the sentence would be served consecutively to his current prison term, meaning a total sentence of 34 years in custody.

Ex-football coach and serial paedophile Barry Bennell was today sentenced to his fifth jail term

Bennell, who used to work as a scout for Manchester United and is also known as Richard Jones, was also sentenced to an additional two years on licence.

The latest charges faced by Bennell, who was wearing a purple jumper today, were in relation to two victims aged 11 to 14 between 1979 and 1988.

‘You were a parent’s worst nightmare’: Judge’s full comments

Judge Patrick Thompson said: ‘You had a respected position as a football coach for professional football clubs including Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City.

‘It was a position you grossly abused in order to use those boys as your sexual playthings.

‘These were children whose parents trusted and respected you, when you were in fact a parent’s worst nightmare.

‘That, I’m afraid, is your legacy and changing your name will not change that.

‘Whilst the complainants may not have achieved their dreams of becoming sporting heroes, they are heroes nonetheless.’

Bennell worked as a youth football coach in Cheshire, Manchester and Derbyshire in the late 1970s and into the 1990s. 

Judge Thompson said: ‘You had a respected position as a football coach for professional football clubs including Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City.

‘It was a position you grossly abused in order to use those boys as your sexual playthings.’

He added: ‘These were children whose parents trusted and respected you, when you were in fact a parent’s worst nightmare.

‘That, I’m afraid, is your legacy and changing your name will not change that.’

He said: ‘Whilst the complainants may not have achieved their dreams of becoming sporting heroes, they are heroes nonetheless.’ 

The court heard Bennell abused his victims while they were staying at his homes in Crewe and Furness Vale, Derbyshire, as well as at children’s home Taxal Edge.

In a victim personal statement, one of the victims said he had given up football after suffering a panic attack while playing for his national team.

He said: ‘Bennell ruined my boyhood dreams and took that away from me.’

Owen Edwards, prosecuting, said Bennell was instrumental in forging the careers of several international footballers but was also responsible for ‘industrial sexual abuse of boys’.

He said: ‘This case represents the final prosecution in a series of cases he has faced.’


Bennell is pictured in an undated police photo (left) and in an England tracksuit in 1990 (right)

Bennell is now serving his fifth jail term having previously been sentenced for similar offences involving 16 other victims. 

‘Today is an important milestone’: Statement from the Offside Trust 

An spokesman for the Offside Trust, which was set up by ex-footballers to support survivors of abuse, said: ‘We are delighted that two more survivors have seen justice done today.

‘No number of additional years would have been enough for this serial abuser, but we can at least take some solace from the justice that has been served.

‘Today is an important milestone in the lives of our fellow survivors. And not just the ones here today.

‘The decision not to bring the dozens of other outstanding cases to court is a bitter blow to so many men and their families. We share their anger, disappointment and pain.

‘Every single case of abuse perpetrated by this man and others like him, is a monstrous crime. Every single case is a heartbreaking and individual story.

‘And every single case should have been investigated and heard in court. Justice cannot continue to be a postcode lottery.

‘We now await with great interest the report to the Football Association from Clive Sheldon QC who has reviewed this and other cases of abuse.

‘Sport faces many challenges at the moment from economic survival to fighting prejudice in all its forms, but the protection and safeguarding of children must never be diluted or relegated.

‘We have stood up and spoken out in the hope that others will never have to. We would like to thank the police, the judiciary, the media and everyone who has supported this long fight for justice.

‘Most of all, we thank every survivor who has come forward and we remember the many brothers we have lost and who are no longer with us. Thank you.’

He was first jailed in Florida in 1994 for raping a British boy on a football tour in America, before going on to face prison sentences in Britain in 1998, 2015 and in 2018.

Mr Edwards said following the last case a decision was made to proceed only with cases involving the most serious offences.

Eleanor Laws QC, defending, said Bennell had already been sentenced to a total of 49 years.

She said following his last conviction he was told by Judge Clement Goldstone QC he ‘may well die in prison’.

Ms Laws said Bennell had undergone an ‘intensive rehabilitation programme’ while in prison in America and had not offended for 25 years.

It is believed he may have more than 100 victims, as 86 complainants came forward to say they were abused by him following his last trial.

The latest charges were brought by the CPS after it reviewed a file of evidence from Cheshire Police relating to allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse.

A spokesman for the Offside Trust, set up by ex-footballers to support survivors of abuse, said: ‘We are delighted that two more survivors have seen justice done today.

‘No number of additional years would have been enough for this serial abuser, but we can at least take some solace from the justice that has been served.

‘Today is an important milestone in the lives of our fellow survivors. And not just the ones here today.

‘The decision not to bring the dozens of other outstanding cases to court is a bitter blow to so many men and their families. We share their anger, disappointment and pain.

‘Every single case of abuse perpetrated by this man and others like him, is a monstrous crime. Every single case is a heartbreaking and individual story.

‘And every single case should have been investigated and heard in court. Justice cannot continue to be a postcode lottery.’

The trust said it now awaits ‘with great interest the report to the Football Association from Clive Sheldon QC who has reviewed this and other cases of abuse’.

It added: ‘Sport faces many challenges at the moment from economic survival to fighting prejudice in all its forms, but the protection and safeguarding of children must never be diluted or relegated.

Bennell is a former football coach at Crewe Alexandra, whose Gresty Road stadium is pictured

‘We have stood up and spoken out in the hope that others will never have to. We would like to thank the police, the judiciary, the media and everyone who has supported this long fight for justice.

‘Most of all, we thank every survivor who has come forward and we remember the many brothers we have lost and who are no longer with us. Thank you.’

Following Bennell’s last trial, it was revealed that 86 more complainants had come forward to report abuse by Bennell, meaning he may have more than 100 victims.

In 2018, the then Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Clement Goldstone QC, branded Bennell ‘the devil incarnate’ and told him he ‘may well die in prison’. 

After today’s sentencing, Cheshire Police Detective Inspector Sarah Oliver, who has been leading on the case, said: ‘Today, Barry Bennell has been sentenced for further sexual offences against young boys.

‘There is no doubt that he is a predatory paedophile who abused his position of trust for his own sexual gratification and the sentence handed down today reinforces that.

‘No-one should ever have to experience what these boys did – and at such a young age. Bennell was highly regarded by many and took advantage of these budding footballers at a time in their life when he knew they were vulnerable. 

‘He knew right from wrong but continued on the path that sadly destroyed many lives along the way.

‘He has shown little remorse for his actions – but, in this case, did spare his victims the trauma of having to re-live what happened to them during a trial by admitting his guilt. 

‘This would undoubtedly have been a very difficult and upsetting experience for them. I hope that this decision helps to provide them with some closure after so many years of pain trying to deal with and make sense of what happened to them.’

David Keane, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, added: ‘It is vitally important that victims of sexual abuse come forward and talk about what happened to them so justice can be served on perpetrators of sexual abuse.

‘Anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse – no matter how long ago the incident took place – is urged to come forward and report it. I will continue to work with victims to ensure they are listened to and are provided with the relevant specialist support that they need.’

Decades of abuse before he was finally brought to justice: Timeline of the Barry Bennell case 

Early 1970s: Starts his coaching career aged about 18 at renowned London-based junior club Senrab FC, Bennell told police. 

Mid to late 1970s: Coaches at Butlin’s holiday camp in Pwllheli, North Wales, and also begins working with Manchester youth team Whitehill FC, he also tells detectives.

November 1979 to July 1981: Employed as a resident social worker at the now closed Taxal Edge children’s home in Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire.

1982 to 1985: Coaches youth teams in Derbyshire which provided several youth recruits for Manchester City.

1985 to 1992: Bennell is employed by or on behalf of Crewe Alexandra apart from a spell coaching in Georgia, United States, in 1989 and 1990.

1990: Marries Linda Woodward, sister of one of his abuse victims, Andy Woodward. The couple go on to have two children.

1992 to 1994: Bennell is employed by or on behalf of Stoke City. 

1994: He is arrested while on a 10-week tour of the United States when coaching a Staffordshire youth team.

1995: He is convicted in Florida of four counts of indecent assault on a young boy and sentenced to four years in jail. Spends time in custody prior to his conviction. His victim was also abused by Bennell in Britain, which leads to a domestic investigation.

January 1997: Bennell is featured in the Channel 4 documentary series Dispatches. Former youth player Ian Ackley waives his anonymity and tells the Soccer’s Foul Play programme he was sexually abused by Bennell.

September 1997: US authorities deport Bennell to the UK at the conclusion of his sentence and on his arrival he is charged with sexual offences relating to a number of complainants.

June 1998: He pleads guilty at Chester Crown Court on the first day of his scheduled trial to 23 counts of sexual abuse relating to 15 complainants, aged from nine to 14, between 1978 and 1992. Victims include Mr Ackley and Mr Woodward. Twenty-two alleged offences are left to lie on file. He is sentenced to nine years in prison.

May 2015: Bennell pleads guilty at the same court on the first day of his scheduled trial to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in 1980. He is jailed for two years. His victim did not come forward in 1997 because of the effect he said it would have on his mother. When she died in 2013 he contacted police. The court hears he was abused at Bennell’s living quarters at Taxal Edge while staying with him as he took part in coaching sessions in Macclesfield.

November 2016: Mr Woodward waives his anonymity to give emotional, powerful interviews to the Guardian and BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. It leads to a number of complainants against Bennell contacting police and a fresh investigation begins.

January 2018: Bennell goes on trial at Liverpool Crown Court accused of 48 historical child sex offences against 11 complainants between 1979 and 1990.

February 2018: Bennell is jailed for 30 years at Liverpool Crown Court after being convicted of 52 child sexual offences against 12 boys in 2018.

July 2020: Bennell admits nine more sex offences – three counts of buggery and six counts of indecent assault in relation to two complainants between 1979 and 1988 who were aged between 11 and 14 at the time.

Today: Bennell is sentenced at Chester Crown Court to four years in prison, in addition to the 30-year sentence he is already serving, for nine sexual offences against two boys.

Source: Read Full Article