Thursday 17 January 2019

'Evil' coach Bennell jailed for 30 years

Barry Bennell. Photo: AP
Barry Bennell. Photo: AP

Victoria Ward

Paedophile football coach Barry Bennell has been jailed for 30 years after being confronted by some of his many victims in court.

The 64-year-old, who abused young boys on an "industrial scale", was described as "the devil incarnate" by the Recorder of Liverpool, Clement Goldstone QC.

The judge said: "Your behaviour towards these boys in grooming and seducing them before subjecting them to, in some cases, the most serious, degrading and humiliating abuse was sheer evil.

"You stole their childhoods and their innocence to satisfy your own perversion."

Bennell was convicted of abusing 12 young footballers he coached between 1979 and 1991.

Earlier, several of his victims read out personal impact statements detailing how the horrific abuse they had suffered at his hands as children had destroyed their lives.

Gary Cliffe, a police officer, approached the glass dock after reading out his statement and said calmly: "Barry. Barry. Why?" Bennell did not respond and looked downwards as court staff intervened before a police officer escorted Mr Cliffe to his seat in the public gallery.

Mr Cliffe, who has waived his anonymity, was one of four complainants who went into the witness box at Liverpool Crown Court to read their statements. Three others were read out.

Bennell, the former Crewe coach and Manchester City scout, was convicted of 50 child sexual offences.

Bennell was told he would serve half his sentence in custody with the rest on licence.

Irish Independent

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