Football coach Barry Bennell 'predatory paedophile with unfettered access to boys'

Football coach Barry Bennell 'predatory paedophile with unfettered access to boys'

Bennell, a former coach at Crewe Alexandra, appeared by video-link as the prosection made its opening arguments at Liverpool Crown Court.

He is charged with a total of 55 offences, including 42 counts of indecent assault, 11 counts of buggery and two counts of attempted buggery.

The complainant alleged Bennell would turn the lights off once the boys were in bed and would play music to mask the sound of the abuse, the court heard.

'He was also, we say, a predatory and determined paedophile: his particular predilection was pre-pubescent boys'.

Mr Johnson said the coach rewarded his victims with sports kit and KFC take-outs.

They relate to alleged incidents that happened while Bennell worked for Crewe Alexandra and Manchester City between the late 1970s and 1990s.

"As such, he had pretty much unfettered access to large numbers of young lads who dreamt of a life in professional football", Johnson said.

After a long summary of the counts against Bennell, the prosecution told the jury they have "only scratched the surface" of the detail they will hear during the trial.


He added: "Although it seems Mr Bennell was a skilled and relatively successful coach we allege he had a much darker side".

Numerous alleged offenses took place at the home addresses of Bennell, who met some of the complainants while working as a scout for Manchester City, the prosecution said.

Complainants also alleged being abused in his vehicle on the way to and from training and on soccer tours.

One of the alleged victims' dad told how he was "wracked with guilt" after confronting Bennell about rumours of his conduct towards boys.

He previously pleaded guilty to one further charge, it can now be reported.

During interviews, Bennell told police he had been attracted to 13-year-old boys because they were "pedigree footballers who were athletic and good looking".

Barry Bennell worked as a coach for Crewe Alexandra, and a scout for Manchester City. The jury was told this was due to an illness that required him to be fed through a tube. Jurors heard that Bennell assaulted one boy on holiday in Mallorca while his girlfriend was in the shower just yards away, and that he abused another while his wife was in the adjacent room.

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