Who is Barry Bennell?
Barry Bennell is a British former football coach and a convicted paedophile who has been accused of molesting his students. He had easy access to children as the coach of their football team. He led the football teams of the UK clubs between 1979 and 1990. He used to play for Chelsea under the name of Richard Jones before he began to coach for young children. Bennell was employed by Crewe Alexandra Football Club, and also had close associations with Manchester City and Stoke City. After years and years of abusing boys of his football teams, Bennell was charged with eight offences of sexual assault against a boy who was under 14, in 2016. He pleaded not guilty to the charges. But on 7 March 2017, fresh charges were laid upon him with further eight counts of non-recent child sexual abuse of two boys. Finally, on February 2018, he was sentenced to 31 years for his heinous crimes.
Barry Bennell was a youth player at Chelsea and was associated with many clubs. He was mostly linked with the Crewe Alexandra club which was a small town football club. This club was famous for developing talented young boys.
Bennell started working as football coach in the 1980s. Additionally, he also collaborated with Manchester City and several junior teams such as Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, and Staffordshire.
He was known as the Pied Piper who would make stars out of junior footballers. But the Pied Piper turned into a predator and molested his own students.
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Barry Bennell had the reputation of being the best youth coach in the country. He surely took advantage of his position and committed some heinous crimes again and again.
His crime was noticed back in 1994 when the police in Jacksonville, Florida charged him for the first time for sexually abusing a 13-year-old British boy on a trip. Bennell also used to take his students on trips and ‘soccer camps’. As per the report published in Birmingham Mail, the boy after coming back from his trip informed his parents about the abuse which resulted in Bennell’s arrest. He was sentenced in US prison for four years. This arrest threw light upon Bennell’s crimes.
Much later, on 16 November 2016, the former Crewe defender Andy Woodward spoke in an interview with The Guardian newspaper about years of abuse he had suffered at the hands of Bennell. In a much detailed interview, Woodward exposed Bennell and his intention behind coaching young boys. In his interview, Woodward had stated that Bennell had raped him more than hundred times during Bennell’s years as football coach of Crewe. In the next few days after Woodward’s interview, the police took reports of more than six people who had been victims of Bennell’s abuse.
Woodward criticised Crewe for not coming forward and apologising to the victims. However, on November 24, Dario Gradi, manager of Crewe during 1980s stated that he had no knowledge of Bennell’s intentions and crimes until he was arrested.
By March 2017, Bennell was already charged with a further 21 offences which included 18 counts of indecent assault, one attempted sexual assault, and two serious sexual assaults to four boys aged between 14 and 16. In July 2017, he was remanded in custody as his trial was to begin in January 2018.
On 19 February 2018, after Bennell’s trial, he was found guilty of 50 charges of child sexual abuse against 12 boys and was jailed for 31 years.
Barry Bennell was born in 1954 in Manchester, United Kingdom, to Alec Bennell and Marjorie Bennell.