'Predatory paedophile' Barry Bennell found guilty of further sexual offences against young boys

Barry Bennell.
Barry Bennell.

A former football coach with links to Derbyshire has this week been convicted of sexual offences against young players.

Barry Bennell - now known as Richard Jones - was found guilty of 43 offences including indecent assault, buggery and attempted buggery following a five-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

The offences relate to 11 victims and took place between 1979 and 1989.

Bennell, who will be sentenced on Monday, pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to seven further offences.

The 64-year-old carried out the abuse in a variety of locations including at his home addresses, at Butlin's holiday park, in his car or on football tours.

In testimony, several victims estimated Bennell had sexually abused them on more than 100 occasions, while another said when he threatened to report the abuse, Bennell had told him “nobody would believe you”.

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.

“He claimed his accusers were making up stories about him following previous convictions and stories in the media but thanks to the evidence from his victims, the CPS and police were able to build a strong case to expose Bennell’s denials as lies.

“Because of the scale of Bennell’s offending, the prosecution faced a number of challenges, including selecting charges which would adequately reflect the scale and seriousness of what Bennell did. The indictment before the court properly reflected that offending and will allow the court to sentence appropriately.

“I would like to pay tribute to the victims who have come forward to give evidence against him and I hope this outcome gives them some sense of justice being done after so many years.”

Detective Inspector Sarah Oliver, of Cheshire Police, who has been leading on the case, said: "There is no doubt that he is a predatory paedophile who abused his position of trust as a football coach for his own sexual gratification.

"Bennell was highly regarded in his field and took advantage of these young boys at a time in their life when he knew they were vulnerable and dreamt of making it in the world of professional football. He knew exactly what he was doing was wrong but carried on regardless.

“He has shown a complete lack of empathy throughout the proceedings and the victims have had to relive what happened to them all those years ago – this has been an upsetting and difficult experience for them.

“Bennell shattered the hopes and dreams of many of these young boys and they have had to carry the burden of what happened to them around for years.

“Their bravery and courage in coming forward after all this time is remarkable and I would like to thank them for the support they have given throughout this case.

“I hope that the outcome today provides them some comfort after what has been a truly horrendous experience in their lives."

Bennell was once employed at a children's home in Derbyshire.