Barry Bennell – trial of ex-football coach for child abuse *Updated March 2019*

Football PitchUPDATE MARCH 2019: 

Crewe Alexandra has agreed to pay a settlement to a former player who was abused by Barry Bennell. The settlement was achieved after formal court proceedings were started. No apology was issued by the club. Crewe Alexandra has reportedly stated that it ‘sincerely regrets the abuse committed by Barry Bennell and expresses its deepest sympathies to the victims and survivors’.

The settlement shows that Crewe Alexandra has decided to take a different approach to Manchester City who have set up a compensation scheme for survivors of abuse. Manchester City commented that they hoped their scheme would help victims avoid ‘lengthy, expensive, formal court litigation’. However, it is hoped that the settlement which has been achieved against Crewe Alexandra will enable other survivors to achieve some justice and resolve.

Manchester City have been reported as saying that they hope their scheme will enable players who have initiated or are planning legal action against the club to “avoid the costs, time, emotional distress and complexity of a trial with an alternative dispute-resolution process” by providing “a speedier, cheaper and more predictable means of compensation than lengthy, expensive formal court litigation”.

The plan is for a two-tier compensation tariff that takes into account the range of offences, the length of abuse and its effect on the victims.  This should include compensation for loss of earnings and ensuring that victims are able to receive support and counselling.  As well as making settlements, City will contribute to legal costs. The scheme is being described as a “victim first” policy.

In November 2016 Manchester City launched an inquiry into Mr Bennell’s connections with the club and how the former youth coach was able to exploit this role to abuse boys.  The review is ongoing.

An independent inquiry into historic abuse in football was commissioned by the Football Association in 2016 and is also currently still ongoing.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2018:

Barry Bennell has been found guilty of multiple sex offences against boys in the 1980s and has been sentenced to 31 years in prison. Described by the judge as “sheer evil”, it was said that Bennell left a “trail of psychological devastation”. This was the first time during the trial that Bennell had appeared in person in front of his victims.

The Trial took place at Liverpool Crown Court during January and February 2018.  Mr Bennell, 63, denied 48 sexual offence charges made against him.  Mr Bennell was initially charged with five counts of indecent assault on a boy, two counts of inciting a boy to commit an act of gross indecency and one count of assault with intent to commit buggery.  He was on trial of 35 counts of indecent assault, 11 serious sexual assaults and two counts of attempted assault, on boys between the ages of eight and 14 after admitting to seven charges of indecent assault relating to three boys aged between 11 and 14.

He denied all the offences but offered no defence.  It has been reported that the jury were unable to reach decision on seven counts and were directed by the judge to enter three not guilty verdicts.

Mr Bennell is a former youth football coach who once worked at a number of clubs, including Crewe Alexandra.  Evidence has been heard that he met one of his alleged victims whilst a scout for Manchester City.  The Professional Footballer’s Association has said that six or seven clubs are connected to allegations made including Stoke, Newcastle, Blackpool, Manchester City and Leeds. It has been reported that Mr Bennell has been imprisoned three times over 20 years for abusing young boys.

Gary Walker, panel member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, has vast experience of representing survivors of abuse in claiming damages. He says, “I hope that the criminal trial gives the opportunity to the alleged victims to obtain some justice and that all those involved with the investigations, both in the criminal trial and at the clubs and within the PFA recognise the importance that redress through the criminal and civil justice systems can have for survivors.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by issues raised in this article, please contact Gary for advice. Alternatively, call our specialist lawyers, dedicated to helping survivors of abuse, on 0800 044 8488

Original Story January 2018

The trial into the alleged abuse by Barry Bennell (now known as Richard Jones) has started at Liverpool Crown Court.

Mr Bennell, 63, has denied 48 sexual offence charges made against him.  Mr Bennell was initially charged with five counts of indecent assault on a boy, two counts of inciting a boy to commit an act of gross indecency and one count of assault with intent to commit buggery.  He is now on trial of 35 counts of indecent assault, 11 serious sexual assaults and two counts of attempted assault, on boys between the ages of eight and 14 after admitting to seven charges of indecent assault relating to three boys aged between 11 and 14.

Mr Bennell is a former youth football coach who once worked at a number of clubs, including Crewe Alexandra.  Evidence has been heard that he met one of his alleged victims whilst a scout for Manchester City.  The Professional Footballer’s Association has said that six or seven clubs are connected to allegations made including Stoke, Newcastle, Blackpool, Manchester City and Leeds

It has been reported that Mr Bennell has been imprisoned three times over 20 years for abusing young boys.

Gary Walker, panel member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, has vast experience of representing survivors of abuse in claiming damages. He says, “I hope that the criminal trial gives the opportunity to the alleged victims to obtain some justice and that all those involved with the investigations, both in the criminal trial and at the clubs and within the PFA recognise the importance that redress through the criminal and civil justice systems can have for survivors.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by issues raised in this article, please contact Gary for advice. Alternatively, call our specialist lawyers, dedicated to helping survivors of abuse, on 0800 044 8488.