Victim of paedophile Barry Bennell tells court the football coach was a ‘devil incarnate’ who has shown ‘zero remorse’

  • Man who was abused by Barry Bennell in the 80s said he was the ‘devil incarnate’
  • Paedophile is currently serving 34-year prison sentence over sexual offences 
  • Victims, now in their 40s and 50s, are claiming damages from Manchester City
  • Manchester City have disputed the claims that Bennell was an employee 

A victim who was abused by paedophile football coach Barry Bennell in the 1980s said his abuser was the ‘devil incarnate’ who has shown ‘zero remorse’.

The middle-aged man, who had been a talented schoolboy footballer and first met Bennell when aged about 12, wiped away a tear as he gave evidence to Mr Justice Johnson at a trial in the High Court in London on Tuesday. 

He is one of eight men who have sued Manchester City for damages after complaining of being abused by Bennell more than 30 years ago.

Mr Justice Johnson has heard that Bennell, who worked as a coach at Crewe Alexandra, is serving a 34-year prison sentence after being convicted of sexual offences against boys on five separate occasions.

Four of his convictions have come in the UK and one in the US. He is being held at Littlehey prison near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

A victim who was abused by paedophile foobtall scout Barry Bennell (pictured) as a boy in the 1980s said at at a trial for damages in the High Court in London on Tuesday that his abuser was the ‘devil incarnate’ who has shown ‘zero remorse’ 

The court heard the eight men were sexually and emotionally abused by Bennell between 1979 and 1985, and are claiming damages after suffering psychiatric injuries.

Six are also claiming damages for loss of potential football earnings.

The eight men, now in their 40s and 50s, say Bennell abused them when they were playing youth football in the north-west of England more than 30 years ago.

They say Bennell was operating as a Manchester City scout at the time.  

However, lawyers representing the football club say Bennell was a ‘local scout’ in the mid-1970s but say he did not have a role in the 1980s.

Manchester City deny that Bennell was an employee or in a relationship ‘akin to employment’ at ‘the material times’ and deny being vicariously liable.

The middle-aged man, who had been a talented schoolboy footballer and first met Bennell when aged about 12, is one of eight men who have sued Manchester City for damages after complaining of being abused by Bennell more than 30 years ago.  Pictured: Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium

Mr Justice Johnson has heard how the club had set up a compensation scheme more than four years ago.

Bennell was jailed in 2018 after being convicted of abusing the man, and a number of other victims, after a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court.

The man said crown court judge Clement Goldstone had described Bennell as ‘sheer evil’ and the ‘devil incarnate’.

He told Mr Justice Johnson that ‘to this day’ Bennell had shown ‘zero remorse’ and recalled Bennell’s demeanour at the Liverpool Crown Court sentencing hearing.

‘Throughout the hearing he was laughing, smirking,’ he said. ‘He had just no acceptance. No remorse.’

However, Manchester City deny that Bennell (pictured) was an employee or in a relationship ‘akin to employment’ at ‘the material times’ and deny being vicariously liable

The man told Mr Justice Johnson that he had first met Bennell in the early 1980s.

He said Bennell had been introduced as a Manchester City scout and told Mr Justice Johnson: ‘He was just renowned. Everybody knew him as the Manchester City scout.’

Mr Justice Johnson has heard that Bennell had carried a blue Manchester City calling card, describing him as himself as City’s ‘north-west representative’.

The man said Bennell’s football coaching was ‘second to none’. He said Bennell sometimes brought professional footballers ‘with him’ and recalled meeting former Manchester United stars Gordon Hill and Steve Coppell. 

Bennell, who worked as a coach at Crewe Alexandra, is serving a 34-year prison sentence after being convicted of sexual offences against boys on five separate occasions. Pictured: Crewe Alexandra’s Gresty Road stadium in Cheshire

In October 2020, Bennell was sentenced to his fifth jail term – four years in prison for nine sexual offences against two boys.

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

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.

Following Bennell’s 2018 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’.   

Adults can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 while children can call Childline on 0800 1111. 

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.

October 2020 : 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.

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