Barry Bennell guilty of all remaining charges including child rape

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Former football coach Barry Bennell has been found guilty of seven further charges of child sexual assault, including rape.

He has now been convicted of a total of 43 counts of child sex abuse against 11 victims and will be sentenced on Monday.

Police are also now investigating further allegations after 86 more people came forward since Bennell’s abuse came to light.

A cheer of “yes” came from the public gallery where six complainants sat – some of them cried as the judge discharged the jury.

Bennell’s youngest victim was just eight, the oldest was 15.

Micky Fallon, one of Bennell’s victims, spoke outside court following the verdicts.

“We were little boys with a dream,” he said.

“Our innocence was shattered and our dream was turned into the most horrendous nightmare. For decades that nightmare has haunted us. Fore decades we held our silence, just like our abuser told us to.”

:: Bennell called me ‘little star’ – then abused me

Jackie Lamb, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Barry Bennell is a predatory paedophile who groomed and abused young boys who dreamed of a career in professional football.”

Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Clement Goldstone QC, praised the jury of six men and five women for their service.

Image:
A court sketch of former football coach Barry Bennell during his trial

He said: “You have been, if I may say so, a credit to the jury system.”

He told them if they wished they could be excused from jury service for the next 15 years.

The 64-year-old had denied a total of 45 sexual offences against 11 schoolboy footballers between 1979 and 1991, but pleaded guilty to seven indecent assaults just as the trial started last month.

Bennell had scouted for Manchester City and coached at Crewe Alexandra, which gave him unfettered access to hundreds of young boys who dreamed of making it as professional footballers.

Crewe Alexandra said after the verdicts: “Crewe Alexandra would like to express its deepest sympathies to the victims of Barry Bennell.”

They also reiterated that they were not aware of any sexual abuse during his employment with the club.

Bennell was charged after former footballer Andy Woodward spoke out in late 2016 about the abuse he suffered.

Andy Woodward said outside court: “I think he has been nothing but cruel. He has tortured these poor men and I have witnessed them crying day in day out.

“I can not put into words how I feel about what that man has done.”

David Lean was 12 when he won a football talent competition at a holiday camp in North Wales in 1979, when he first met Bennell.

:: Shattered dreams revealed as Bennell found guilty

Just months later, Bennell invited him to stay at his home, where he abused him.

Bennell was jailed for those offences after Mr Lean went to police in 2015.

“He was charismatic, he had this cheesy winning grin and it was almost as if there were two of him – the charm was all part of the grooming process,” Mr Lean told Sky News.

Barry Bennell with David Lean after he was awarded Butlins' boy-of-the-week in 1979
Image:
Barry Bennell with David Lean after he was awarded Butlins’ boy-of-the-week in 1979

“He would give you football kit, he had all the skills and tricks. Dads and mums thought he was fantastic, but it was all a smokescreen. He was a professional groomer, he made a career out of it. He’s a monster.

“I hope he never sets foot outside prison again. I hope he rots now.”

A police officer who oversaw the team responsible for interviewing Bennell for this latest prosecution told Sky News he had no remorse about the abuse he inflicted on the children.

“My overall impression of Barry Bennell is that he just is incapable of empathy for any human being,” said Detective Inspector Sarah Oliver, from Cheshire Police.

“He is utterly indifferent to the suffering he has caused. He is arrogant and really selfish.”

Former Premier League star Gary Speed is one of four men coached by Bennell who later took their own lives.

The jury in this trial was told from the outset that Bennell had previously been convicted of child sex offences in both the UK and the US.

For 15 months, Manchester City FC have been investigating whether Bennell used the club to facilitate his abuse and are urging people to contact them in confidence.

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