Bennell sentenced to fifth jail term

Former football coach and serial paedophile Barry Bennell has been sentenced to his fifth jail term – four years imprisonment for nine sexual offences against two boys.

Bennell, 66, is already serving a 30-year sentence at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire after being found guilty of 52 child sex offences in 2018.

The former Crewe Alexandra coach, who is also known by the name Richard Jones, appeared via videolink from prison after pleading guilty to three counts of buggery and six counts of indecent assault at an earlier hearing.

The offences were carried out against nine boys between 1979 and 1988 when the victims were aged between 11 and 14.

Sentencing him to his fifth jail term at Chester Crown Court, Judge Patrick Thompson said: “You had a respected position as a football coach for professional football clubs including Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City.

“It was a position you grossly abused in order to use those boys as your sexual playthings.

“These were children whose parents trusted and respected you, when you were in fact a parent’s worst nightmare. That, I’m afraid, is your legacy and changing your name will not change that.”

The judge gave Bennell an additional four years in prison and an additional year on licence, making his total jail sentence 34 years with a further two on licence.

The court heard how the former football coach abused the nine victims while they were staying at his homes in Crewe and Furness Vale, Derbyshire, as well as at children’s home Taxal Edge.

In a victim impact statement, one of them said he had given up football after suffering a panic attack while playing for his national team.

He told the court: “Bennell ruined my boyhood dreams and took that away from me.”

The sentencing hearing was told the 66-year-old has a detached retina after being attacked in prison and is in remission from cancer.

Defending, Eleanor Laws QC said Bennell had already been sentenced to a total of 49 years and been told by a previous judge – Clement Goldstone QC that he “may well die in prison”.

He underwent an “intensive rehabilitation programme” while in prison in America and had not offended for 25 years, she added.

Bennell was first jailed in Florida in 1994 for raping a British boy on a football tour in America, before going on to face prison sentences back in the UK in 1998, 2015, 2018 and 2020.

It is believed he may have more than 100 victims, as 86 complainants came forward to say they were abused by him following his last trial.