In Brief

Football sex abuse: Barry Bennell convicted

Ex-coach found guilty of 36 charges including serious sexual assaults against boys aged eight to 15 in the 1980s

A former football coach who worked at a number of England’s leading clubs has been found guilty of multiple sexual offences against boys in the 1980s.

Barry Bennell, 64, was a youth scout and junior football coach for Stoke City, Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra. He was convicted of 36 charges including indecent assault and serious sexual assaults against boys aged eight to 15.

BT says “victims who had been coached by Bennell as boys told how he had a ‘power hold’ over them as they dreamed of becoming professional footballers”. He was said to have been treated like “God” at Manchester City’s Maine Road ground.

During the trial, prosecutors painted Bennell as a “predatory and determined paedophile” who molested young boys on an “industrial scale”.

The Guardian says he “was renowned as one of football’s more successful youth-team coaches and talent spotters” during the 1980s but has since served three prisons sentences in England and the US for abusing underage boys.

More than 240 football clubs have now been implicated in British football’s historic child sexual abuse scandal.

A series of ex-footballers came forward after former Crewe defender Andy Woodward waived his right to anonymity to reveal in an interview with The Guardian he had been a victim of sexual abuse.

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