Daily Mail

Bennell accuses victims of ‘Oscar’ performanc­es

- By MIKE KEEGAN at the High Court, London

THE paedophile former coach Barry Bennell accused some of his victims of ‘Oscar’ performanc­es here yesterday and said some of them were trying to get money out of Manchester City. Bennell, serving a 34-year sentence for sexual abuse, gave evidence from prison for a case in which eight men are suing City for psychiatri­c injuries and loss of potential earnings — because they claim Bennell was working for the club when they were abused by him between 1979 and 1985. City insist that Bennell did not work for them during that period. Bennell, wearing a red sweatshirt and a facemask, and appearing on video link from HMP Littlehey, Cambridges­hire, repeatedly denied that he had any connection with the club at the time in question. ‘All I want is the truth,’ he said, before adding that he had been approached in prison by one victim who ‘asked me if I would lie so he could claim compensati­on from the football club’. ‘I’m in prison and they’re still going on about money. They’re not concerned about the punishment of me,’ he said. When asked if some of his accusers had ‘jumped on a bandwagon’, he said: ‘Without a doubt. Give me a polygraph and I’ll prove it. All I’ve done is help and help and help. I’ve done nothing else.’ Representi­ng the claimants, James Counsell QC asked if Bennell had enjoyed watching his victims have to relive the abuse he subjected them to during the court cases. ‘I thought it was good acting,’ said Bennell. ‘All the crying. An Oscar performanc­e.’ The decision to bring Bennell as a witness on behalf of City has been criticised — but the club say they had no control over who came before the court, pointing out that the matter is being handled by lawyers on behalf of an insurance company. They say the club is named as a formality only. With some of the claimants watching proceeding­s via videolink, Bennell added: ‘I was good at creating the impression with junior players, their parents, other coaches that I was an MCFC coach and that playing for one of my junior teams meant that they were in some way connected with MCFC, which was what the players and their parents wanted to believe. ‘However, the reality is that I was never an MCFC coach and after 1978, 1979 my junior teams had no connection at all with MCFC.’ The case continues.

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