Former British football coach Barry Bennell, who is standing trial charged with multiple sex abuse charges against children, has admitted seven counts of indecent assault against three boys aged 11 to 14.
Bennell, who was once the youth team coach at Crewe Alexandra and previously involved in Manchester City’s junior system, has told the police that he was attracted to 13-year-olds because they were “pedigree footballers who were athletes and good-looking.”
A former junior footballer from Manchester City’s youth system, whose identity was not released to protect privacy, said in police interviews shown to Bennell’s trial at Liverpool crown court on Wednesday that he was sexually abused around 100 times by the pedophile, and often had to stay four in a bed with the man he believed would help him have a professional career.
The abuse, he said, mostly happened on overnight stays at Bennell’s house above the video shop he ran in Furness Vale, and it was “tens of tens, if not into 100” times.
“I remember crying and feeling really horrible and bad. Nobody said anything. It was almost like an untold rule: ‘shut up, don’t spoil our chances, I want to make it, I want to be a footballer, I want to play for City’. You knew, but you didn’t say anything. He had a big power-hold over us with this, which was pretty horrific,” the complainant recounted.
The court also heard Bennell had already served prison sentences in England and the United States for child sex offences in football.
Bennel has claimed to be the “victim of a concerted effort by people from his past,” and that the complainants are “jumping on the bandwagon and maliciously making up stories … motivated by attention-seeking or the prospect of compensation.”
The former football coach has been charged with a total of 55 offences: 42 counts of indecent assault, 11 of buggery and two of attempted buggery. They purportedly happened between 1979 and 1991.
He denies 48 counts relating to 11 complainants, aged eight to 15.
Bennell’s trial is expected to last around eight weeks.