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Convicted paedo ex-football coach Barry Bennell dies in prison age 69

Convicted paedo ex-football coach Barry Bennell dies in prison age 69 with reports confirming his death came on Saturday morning.

Bennell, who had cancer, passed away at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire as per according to the Ministry of Justice on Monday afternoon.

Bennell was a youth coach at Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City back in the 1980s and 1990s and also had links to youth teams across Cheshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Greater Manchester.

But disgustingly, he used his position to sexually abuse boys, being first jailed for four years in the US in 1994 after being found to have abused a 13-year-old British boy at a football camp in Florida.

Bennell then came back to the UK, where his broader record as an predator had been exposed by the 1997 Channel 4 Dispatches film Soccer’s Foul Play.

He was sent back to prison for nine years at Chester Crown Court after admitting 23 offences dating back to the 1970s.

Then in 2015, Bennell pleaded guilty to enticing a boy under the age of 14 to commit an act of gross indecency in the early 1980s – before being jailed for two more years.

Other victims bravely came forward after footballer Andy Woodward said he had been groomed and abused by Bennell over a period of four years, starting at the age of 11.

He had been convicted of more than 50 sexual offences against 22 boys at Liverpool Crown Court in 2018, being given a 34-year jail term with the judge calling him the “devil incarnate”, saying: ‘To those boys you appeared as a god… in reality you were the devil incarnate. You stole their childhoods and their innocence.’

Bennell was sent to HMP Littlehey, a prison for sex offenders in Cambridgeshire with court hearing Bennell got contact with one of his former victims through Facebook to tell him that his cancer diagnosis was “payback”.

The jury saw a Facebook message which had been sent to the complainant in 2009 which he believed to have been sent by Bennell, who has since changed his name to Richard Jones.

The message, which was sent from an account with the name Richard Barry, said: “Good to see you have a family and enjoying life.

“I got cancer a while back and it’s left me in a mess.

“Won’t go into details but it’s not pretty. Payback I hear you saying, well I understand that.

“If you could find time could you drop me a line saying how your life is going.

“All the best, Barry.”

The complainant told the court he never replied to the message.

Earlier this month, a group of ex-footballers who launched legal action against Manchester City relating to the crimes of paedophile Barry Bennell were told they would not be allowed to appeal the High Court decision clearing the club of vicarious liability.

This ruling by a Court of Appeal judge meant that their legal action against City was now over, with one case still ‘pending’, as per The Athletic.

It was back in November 2021 that eight men took Man City to the High Court seeking damages for the sexual abuse they suffered in the 1970s and 1980s at the hands of Bennell.

The men, who are now in their 40s and 50s, said that Bennell was a scout the club when they were abused at junior teams in the Manchester area and that his relationship with Man City was “one of employment or one akin to employment”.

But, the decision didn’t go their way at a trial which saw Bennell controversially receiving an invite by the solicitors for Man City’s insurers to give evidence on the club’s behalf, via video-link from prison.

The Athletic go on to report that judge Justice Johnson described Bennell in his findings as a “manipulative liar” and not a credible witness with Bennell’s evidence not decisive, but said the verdict was based on claims being brought too late to result in a fair trial.

“It is not fair, after all these years, to reach a binding determination on (City’s) responsibility for the abuse, based on the partial evidence that is still available,” said the judge.

Solicitors for the former footballers said at the time they had been left “shocked and dismayed” by the decision, and then quickly tried to get the verdict overturned. 18 months later, the Court of Appeal agreed with the original decision.

City’s insurers denied liability, but the club went on to set up a redress scheme in 2019 which would see them offer damages to Bennell’s victims and also those of two more paedophiles who had previously been linked to the club, one in the 1960s and one in the 1990s.

The club made a payment totally nearly £4million ($5m) in the first two and a half years.

By October 2021, around 40 people made claims related to Bennell, with that number thought to have risen much more since then.

League Two outfit Crewe Alexandra also paid out several out-of-court settlements due to legal action from ex-players relating to Bennell’s time as the club’s youth-team manager.

Meanwhile, Dario Gradi, then Crewe’s manager, is still banned from the sport as part of a Football Association safeguarding investigation and is set to be stripped of his MBE, despite denying he had any knowledge of the action behind Bennell’s gross acts.

Gradi has been criticised for not doing more to protect the boys who were subjected to serious and long-standing sexual abuse.

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