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Barry Bennell: Ex-coach had 'unfettered access' to boys

Barry Bennell: Ex-coach had 'unfettered access' to boys

Former football coach Barry Bennell was a "predatory and determined paedophile" who abused one boy on more than 100 occasions, a court has heard.The ex-Crewe Alexandra coach "had pretty much unfettered access" to boys dreaming of a life in the professional game, prosecutors alleged.Liverpool Crown Court was told offences took place between 1979 and 1991.Mr Bennell, 63, who is now known as Richard Jones, denies 48 sex offence charges against him.Nicholas Johnson QC, prosecuting, told the jury Mr Bennell had worked as a youth football coach in Cheshire, Manchester and Derbyshire.
He said some of the abuse took place at the ground of Crewe Alexandra and during tours by the football club, but many incidents occurred at the defendant's home addresses.
'Dark side'
Mr Johnson said one alleged victim, who says he was abused more than 100 times, met Mr Bennell when he was a scout for Manchester City.The complainant would stay at Mr Bennell's house with other youngsters. "Not only was there the promise of high quality football, but they were given lots of sports kit and allowed to eat takeaway food," Mr Johnson told the jury.The court heard how Mr Bennell would "play fight" with the boys and play a game with them called Follow Me, where they would copy his actions while he would increase degrees of intimacy to gauge how compliant the boys would be to abuse.The complainant said Mr Bennell would turn the lights off and play music to mask the sounds of the abuse, the jury heard.The prosecutor said that while Mr Bennell "was a skilled and relatively successful coach, we allege that he had a much darker side."He was also, we say, a predatory and determined paedophile. His particular predilection was pre-pubescent boys."Mr Bennell is on trial for 35 counts of indecent assault, 11 serious sexual assaults and two counts of attempted sexual assault, on boys aged between eight and 14.He appeared via video-link on the second day of his trial. The jury was told this was due to an illness that required him to be fed through a tube.Before the trial, Mr Bennell had admitted seven charges of indecent assault committed between 1981 and 1991, relating to three boys aged between 11 and 14.The trial continues.
Barry Bennell trial
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