The Devil in­car­nate

Judge blasts pae­dophile foot­ball coach as he jails him for 30 years

Daily Mail - - News - By Richard Mars­den

PAE­DOPHILE foot­ball coach Barry Ben­nell was branded the ‘ Devil in­car­nate’ by a judge as he jailed him for 30 years yes­ter­day.

He was sen­tenced for 50 crimes of sex­ual abuse against boys as young as eight, one of whom was raped more than 100 times.

Ben­nell, 64, who en­ticed boys with the dream of a pro­fes­sional foot­ball ca­reer, smiled as he was led from the dock at Liverpool Crown Court.

There were dra­matic scenes at the hear­ing when one of his vic­tims, Gary Cliffe, who has waived his right to anonymity, sought to con­front him.

Mr Cliffe, now a po­lice of­fi­cer, was held back af­ter walk­ing to­wards the dock, ask­ing: ‘Barry, Barry, why?’

Ben­nell glanced to­wards him, then re­turned to star­ing straight ahead.

Hon­orary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Cle­ment Gold­stone QC told him: ‘In one in­ter­view, you said that while it would be fair to de­scribe you as ma­nip­u­la­tive, cun­ning... you were not evil.

‘You could not have been more wrong. Your be­hav­iour to­wards these boys in groom­ing and se­duc­ing them be­fore sub­ject­ing them to, in some cases, the most se­ri­ous, de­grad­ing and hu­mil­i­at­ing abuse was sheer evil.

‘To these boys, you ap­peared as a god who had it in his gift to ful­fil their am­bi­tions. In re­al­ity you were the Devil in­car­nate. You stole their child­hoods and their in­no­cence to sat­isfy your per­ver­sion.’

Ben­nell was found guilty of 43 counts of child sex abuse af­ter a five-and-a-half-week trial.

The charges re­lated to 11 boys abused be­tween 1979 and 1991, when Ben­nell had links with Manch­ester City, Stoke City and Crewe Alexan­dra foot­ball clubs.

The per­vert, who op­er­ated as a tal­ent scout around north­west Eng­land un­til the mid1990s, had ad­mit­ted seven other in­de­cent as­saults, in­clud­ing charges in­volv­ing a 12th vic­tim, be­fore the trial.

His to­tal sen­tence was 30 years plus a year’s ex­tended li­cence, and he was placed on the sex of­fend­ers’ reg­is­ter for life. The judge said he had ‘shown no re­morse what­so­ever’.

There were shouts of ‘yes’ from vic­tims and their fam­i­lies in the pub­lic gallery as de­tails of the pun­ish­ment were read out.

Af­ter Ben­nell was taken down, Judge Gold­stone said he ‘may well die in prison’ and would not be el­i­gi­ble for re­lease ‘un­til he is ap­proach­ing 80’. Vic­tim im­pact state­ments from those he abused were read to the court, some in per­son. All de­scribed suf­fer­ing prob­lems with re­la­tion­ships and trust.

One man said he had un­der­gone a ‘med­i­cal pro­ce­dure’ so he could not have chil­dren, an­other ended up with drink and drug prob­lems that led to a spell in a young of­fend­ers’ in­sti­tu­tion, while oth­ers said they had con­sid­ered sui­cide.

Chris Unsworth, who also waived his right to anonymity, said Ben­nell ‘ ma­nip­u­lated, groomed and con­trolled’ him to a point where he ‘couldn’t stand to be around foot­ball any more’.

Mr Cliffe said the ex­tent of the abuse meant he ‘nor­malised it in or­der to cope’, adding: ‘This proved too much for me in the end, with my con­fi­dence and self-worth shat­tered’.

One of the vic­tims who did not wish to be named said Ben­nell’s ac­tions had ‘com­pletely stolen my life from me’. An­other added: ‘That mon­ster de­cided it was fine to use me as a sex toy.’

The court heard Ben­nell abused vic­tims at his home in Der­byshire as well as on trips to hol­i­day camps and abroad. One boy was even abused by Ben­nell at his fam­ily home while his par­ents were down­stairs.

Ben­nell op­er­ated by build­ing up par­ents’ trust, then groom­ing their chil­dren by invit­ing them to his home, which had a pool ta­ble and ex­otic pets in­clud­ing a mon­key. He would also treat them to free sports­wear.

But the pae­dophile – likened at the trial to the Child Catcher in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – would then ter­rify them by mak­ing them watch hor­ror films so they would cud­dle him.

He would then climb into bed with them and abuse them.

Ben­nell had pre­vi­ously served three prison sen­tences for abus­ing boys – a four-year term in the US in 1994, a nine-year sen­tence in 1998 and a two-year sen­tence in 2015.

He lived in Mil­ton Keynes un­der the name Richard Jones af­ter his most re­cent re­lease.

Ben­nell may have more than 100 vic­tims in to­tal as an ad­di­tional 86 com­plainants have come for­ward to say they were abused by him.

His time on re­mand since his ar­rest in Novem­ber 2016 will count to­wards his sen­tence.

Per­vert: Barry Ben­nell

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