Barry Bennell, a former football coach who made headlines for his heinous acts of child abuse, has died at the age of 69. The Ministry of Justice confirmed that Bennell passed away in prison due to cancer. Serving his sentence at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire, he had been convicted of over 50 offenses against 22 boys during his time as a coach in the 1980s and 1990s.
Bennell’s dark history came to light when he was initially convicted of an offense committed while on tour with a youth team in Florida. Following his release from prison, he faced trial for the crimes committed within the UK, which were uncovered after a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation. In 1998, he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 15 boys aged between nine and 14 from 1978 to 1992, resulting in a nine-year prison sentence.
2016 marked a turning point when former professional footballer Andy Woodward courageously spoke out about being a victim of Bennell’s abuse. Subsequently, numerous other former players came forward with their own stories of victimization. In 2018, Bennell was handed an additional 30-year sentence after being found guilty of 52 child sexual offenses against 12 boys. The judge at Liverpool crown court described him as “the devil incarnate” and emphasized the profound impact his actions had on the victims’ lives.
Bennell’s final conviction occurred in 2020, resulting in an additional four-year sentence. Throughout his legal proceedings, it was evident that justice had finally caught up with him, and Liverpool’s recorder, Judge Goldstone QC, had predicted that Bennell might spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The abuse took place while Bennell held coaching positions at prominent clubs such as Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City, and Stoke City. The victims, many of whom were promising young footballers, later expressed the lasting impact of the abuse, which had devastating consequences for their careers and personal lives.
Earlier this year, a court ruled that Manchester City could not be held responsible for Bennell’s abuse during his employment there. While the court acknowledged the authenticity of the victims’ accounts, they deemed the claims to have been brought too late for a fair trial against the club.
What were Barry Bennell’s crimes?
Barry Bennell, a former football coach, was convicted of over 50 offenses involving child abuse. He sexually abused numerous boys while coaching them during the 1980s and 1990s.
Which clubs did Barry Bennell work for?
Bennell held coaching positions at clubs such as Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City, and Stoke City.
Did Barry Bennell’s victims receive justice?
Bennell’s victims finally received justice through a series of convictions and lengthy prison sentences. However, some victims expressed frustration that Manchester City could not be held responsible for the abuse that occurred during Bennell’s employment with the club.
What was the impact of Barry Bennell’s abuse?
The victims of Barry Bennell’s abuse suffered profound emotional and psychological trauma, with many experiencing long-lasting effects that affected both their personal lives and promising football careers.