Coach Barry Bennell ‘abused boy 100 times’

An alleged victim of Barry Bennell was abused more than 100 times by the football coach and scout while he worked for Manchester City, a court has heard.

Another alleged victim told police he was abused by Bennell in his Mercedes car as he took him to and from training sessions.

The allegations were spelled out as Bennell went on trial at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday, accused of sex crimes against promising young players.

The 63-year-old denies a total of 48 child sex offences and is observing court proceedings via a video link.

Prosecutors said jurors would hear allegations made in the past against Bennell by footballers in England and Wales, and also in the United States.

The jury was told that he had been a “skilled and relatively successful coach” operating in Cheshire, Manchester and Derbyshire, but “had a much darker side”.

Talented young schoolboy footballers would be invited to stay at his home on a Friday night and this was when the abuse would take place, said Nick Johnson QC, prosecuting.

“He had pretty much unfettered access to large numbers of young lads who dreamt of a life in professional football,” Mr Johnson added.

“Although it seems that Mr Bennell was a relatively successful coach, he had a much darker side. He was also a predatory and determined paedophile.”

The court was told young boys would be given free sports kit at Bennell’s house and allowed to eat takeaway food.

There were also arcade games to play and a pet monkey.

The prosecution alleges the abuse took place at Bennell’s home, on tour with football teams in Wales and at the ground of Crewe Alexandra FC, where he worked as a youth coach at the time.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between 1979 and 1991 when the alleged victims were between eight and 15 years old.

Mr Johnson told jurors they may have already heard that Bennell had admitted some sexual offending against three people in the case, but he is also accused of much more serious offending – which would now be categorised as male rape.

The jury would have to decide, Mr Johnson added, whether they were listening to a group of men who, as Bennell alleges, had “jumped on the bandwagon” and maliciously made up stories.

He said they may also agree with the Crown’s case that a paedophile had committed serious sexual offences on a large scale and over a long period of time.

More from UK

Mr Johnson said: “In those circumstances we will suggest in due course that it is no surprise either that the extent of his offending has taken so long to emerge or that there is repetition in the way, we allege, he committed his offences.”

Bennell denies the charges and the trial continues.