Former football coach Barry Bennell sentenced for sexually abusing boys

Former football coach Barry Bennell has today (Thursday 8 October) been sentenced for sexually abusing two young boys more than 30 years ago.

Former football coach Barry Bennell has today (Thursday 8 October) been sentenced for sexually abusing two young boys more than 30 years ago.

The 66-year-old, who is currently in prison after being convicted of similar offences in 2018, appeared via video link at Chester Crown Court, where he was sentenced to an extra four years in prison – to run consecutively to his current 30-year prison term.

This means a total sentence of 34 years in custody, with an additional two years on licence.

Judge Patrick Thompson said:

You had a respected position as a football coach for professional football clubs including Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City.

It was a position you grossly abused in order to use those boys as your sexual playthings.

In July 2020, Bennell pleaded guilty to nine sexual offences in relation to two victims.

The offences include one count of buggery and six counts of indecent assault in relation to one victim and two counts of buggery in relation to the second victim.

The boys were aged between 11 and 14 at the time of the offences, which date back to between 1979 and 1988.

Detective Inspector Sarah Oliver said:

Today, Barry Bennell has been sentenced for further sexual offences against young boys. There is no doubt that he is a predatory paedophile who abused his position of trust for his own sexual gratification and the sentence handed down today reinforces that.

No-one should ever have to experience what these boys did – and at such a young age. Bennell was highly regarded by many and took advantage of these budding footballers at a time in their life when he knew they were vulnerable. He knew right from wrong but continued on the path that sadly destroyed many lives along the way.

He has shown little remorse for his actions – but, in this case, did spare his victims the trauma of having to re-live what happened to them during a trial by admitting his guilt. This would undoubtedly have been a very difficult and upsetting experience for them. I hope that this decision helps to provide them with some closure after so many years of pain trying to deal with and make sense of what happened to them.

Today’s sentencing follows on from Bennell’s previous jail term handed down in 2018 after he was found guilty of 43 offences including indecent assault, buggery and attempted buggery following a lengthy trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

The offences related to 12 victims and took place between 1979 and 1991.

Bennell also pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to seven further offences (bringing the total convictions to 50).

Detective Inspector Sarah Oliver added:

No-one should ever feel ashamed about talking about what happened to them – no matter how long ago that might be. We should never underestimate the impact that this type of offending has on the victims. In this case, they have shown remarkable bravery and courage and I would like to thank them for their continued support throughout the investigation.

I hope that the conclusion today helps to close a painful chapter and hopefully open up a new one where they can start to rebuild their lives.

David Keane, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said:

It is vitally important that victims of sexual abuse come forward and talk about what happened to them so justice can be served on perpetrators of sexual abuse.

Anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse – no matter how long ago the incident took place – is urged to come forward and report it. I will continue to work with victims to ensure they are listened to and are provided with the relevant specialist support that they need.

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