Court hears Barry Bennell 'systematically abused boys'

Joann Johnston
January 13, 2018

"He would move his hands around your body on the outside of your clothes, tickle you, and you would have to do the same to him", Mr Unsworth said.

On the third day of the trial at Liverpool crown court, the same complainant told the jury that Bennell's house in the Peak District - described by Bennell as "a kids' paradise" - had a pool table, a fruit machine, a jukebox and was filled with sports equipment, but said there was excrement everywhere from dogs.

Nicholas Johnson QC, prosecuting, told the court that the ex-Crewe Alexandra coach, who has since changed his name to Richard Jones, worked as a youth football coach in Cheshire, Manchester and Derbyshire in the late 1970s and into the 1990s.

The game would keep going until his hands were "inside your shirt or inside your underpants", he told told the jury.

Bennell, described by the prosecution as a "devious paedophile", has admitted seven charges of sexually abusing three boys but pleaded not guilty to a further 48 counts relating to 11 alleged victims from 1979 to 1991.

The boy, who met Bennell when he attended a football training session in his role as a Manchester City scout, said he and his fellow footballers had an untold rule not to reveal what the coach was doing.

In police interviews played to the jury, he said his "target age" was boys of 13 and "nine-year-olds scared me because they were still attached to the [mothers"] apron strings.

Bennell would share his double bed with up to two boys at a time, turn off the lights and play music loudly, he said.

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Following a break for lunch the alleged victim was cross-examined while sitting behind a screen, with talkRADIO reporter Alex Dibble saying there was some "definite tension" between him and the defence.

The man told the court he then made contact with Woodward. "It felt like it went on for hours but it was probably two or three minutes".

"Every boy dreamed of being a footballer so everybody wanted to please him", he added.

During questioning by Eleanor Laws, defending Bennell, the complainant said he was not testifying to get compensation, but because "this is about justice".

He did admit that the youth footballer had stayed at his house and slept in his bed, but said he would have been too young for him to be attracted to.

He described being abused "tens of tens, if not 100" times by Bennell.

Mr Bennell is on trial for 35 counts of indecent assault, 11 counts of buggery and two counts of attempted buggery, on boys aged between eight and 14.

Bennell is due to appear on video-link for the trial as he needs to be frequently fed through a tube due to illness, the court was told.

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