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Paedophile former football coach dies in prison

Former football coach and serial paedophile Barry Bennell has died in prison aged 69.

Bennell, who worked as a coach for Crewe Alexandra and a scout for Manchester City during his career, was described as the ‘devil incarnate’ when he was jailed for sex offences in 2018.

Bennell, also known as Richard Jones, was jailed for 30 years in 2018 after being convicted of 52 child sexual offences against 12 boys.

He was ordered to serve an additional four years in 2020 after pleading guilty to other offences against two boys.

More than 100 people are thought to have made allegations they were abused by Bennell in total.

When he was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court in 2018, Recorder of Liverpool Judge Clement Goldstone QC said he “may well die in prison”.

His final prison sentence, in 2020, was the fifth time he had been jailed.

At that hearing, the court was told he had a detached retina after being attacked in prison and was in remission from cancer.

The Bennell case prompted a review into sexual abuse in football which found “significant institutional failings” on the part of the Football Association.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Prisoner Barry Bennell died at HMP Littlehey on 16 September 2023.

“As with all deaths in custody, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will investigate.”

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of former football coach Barry Bennell appearing at Liverpool Crown Court
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of former football coach Barry Bennell appearing at Liverpool Crown Court (PA)

Earlier this tear, eight men who were abused by Bennell more than 30 years ago lost a bid at the High Court to sue Manchester City for damages.

The men, now in their 40s and 50s, were abused by Bennell when they were playing schoolboy football for teams he coached in north-west England between 1979 and 1985.

They said Bennell, now 68, was a scout for City during that time and argued that the club was “vicariously liable” for the abuse, because its relationship with Bennell at the time was “one of employment or one akin to employment”.

But a judge dismissed their claims, finding that the legal action was brought “too late” and that the connection between the abuse and Bennell’s relationship with City was “insufficient to give rise to vicarious liability”.

The men said they would appeal the decision.

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