Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Barry Bennell: 31 years in jail for soccer's 'devil incarnate'

Andy Woodward says 'there’s no sentence that will be enough' for Barry Bennell Andy Woodward's claims sparked the investigation into Barry Bennell
Kristopher Love | 22 February, 2018, 01:24

Former British football trainer Barry Bennell was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Monday for abusing 12 boys he coached between 1979 and 1991, with the judge branding him "sheer evil".

Micky Fallon said: "As survivors of Barry Bennell's crimes and cruelty we welcome the sentence the judge has handed down today".

Bennell had been previously convicted three times of child abuse.

Earlier, the judge said that Bennell had left a "trail of psychological devastation" after he was described by the prosecution at Liverpool crown court as an "industrial-scale child molester" and a "predatory and determined paedophile".

"You appeared as a God to those boys but in reality you were the Devil incarnate". "You stole their childhoods and their innocence to satisfy your own perversion".

Following a month-long trial, Bennell was found guilty of multiple sexual abuse offences against young boys he coached during the 1980s while working as a coach at Crewe Alexandra and Man City.

Bennell - now known as Richard Jones - was found guilty last week of 43 offences including indecent assault, buggery and attempted buggery following a five-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Bennell has already served three jail terms, totalling 15 years, for similar offences involving 16 other victims.

The jury at the latest trial heard that Bennell enticed boys to his house with arcade games and exotic pets and was compared by prosecutors to the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Mr Lennon, who played alongside Andy Woodward and Steve Walters, two of Bennell's victims, at Crewe Alexandra, said he nearly felt like he had let them down.

"To this day there is no evidence that he has any remorse or regret for the dreams he has shattered and the lives he has damaged", she added.

The judge labelled him "the devil incarnate" and four victims faced him in court to read statements about the awful impact of his abuse.

"I'm proud that I did speak out".

There were only a few moments when Bennell raised his eyes to look at the former players as they spoke about their childhood horrors.

This is not the first time Bennell has been prosecuted for offenses against children.

"I feel sorry and I feel angry that my team-mates and my friends went through that", Lennon told BBC Scotland.

"He was very well thought of as a coach", added Lennon, who joined Crewe from Man City in 1990 as a youngster. Woodward was among his victims at Crewe football club.

He was also sentenced to an additional year on licence.

The fourth complainant to read out his statement in court said: "This monster decided it was fun for him to use me as a sex toy".