Gary Speed and three others linked to Bennell committed suicide, jurors told

A former victim of Barry Bennell's abuse told jurors that ex-Wales manager Gary Speed and three other men linked to the paedophile coach when they were young footballers had gone on to commit suicide.

He told the court that he tried to contact the parents of Speed, who hanged himself in 2011 at the age of 42, to tell them about the abuse.

The victim said: "Four people from teams I have played with, with Bennell, have taken their own lives."

He added: "Whether they have taken their lives due to Barry solely I don't know, but all I know is how it's had an impact on me and how it could impact on other people."

He said he wanted to get in touch with Speed's parents after he read in the paper that they had not been able to get closure because they had no explanation for his death.

Soccer - European Cup Winners Cup - Semi Final First Leg - Manchester United v Juventus
Soccer - European Cup Winners Cup - Semi Final First Leg - Manchester United v Juventus

Later, the jury at Liverpool Crown Court was told that police spoke to the victim after he had given his evidence and asked him to clarify the names of the four men who all played youth football in teams associated with Crewe Alexandra.

Police went on to make inquiries and confirmed that Speed was found dead by his wife at their home address on November 27 2011. He was found hanged in the garage.

Alan Davies - a Wales international who played for Manchester United and Swansea City - committed suicide in Horton, South Wales, on February 4 1992 by carbon monoxide poisoning.

A third man, Mark Hazeldine, committed suicide on February 18 2006.

Prosecution junior counsel Owen Edwards told the jury: "In all three cases there were coroner's inquests at which evidence was called. There was no evidence called at any of the inquests suggesting that their death was linked to Mr Jones (Bennell changed his name to Richard Jones)."

Police have been unable to trace the fourth man named by the witness and are unable to confirm whether he is alive or dead, added Mr Edwards.

Speed's inquest heard that he was was found hanged after rowing with his wife.

Mr Speed and his wife, Louise, had been going through "ups and downs" but were "working through" their problems, she told the hearing at Warrington Coroner's Court.

The couple, who married in 1996, were arguing against a background of "stresses" connected to his job managing the Welsh national team, Cheshire Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg was told.

They had "words" in the hours before the father-of-two was found dead at 7am after returning home from a dinner party at a friend's house.

Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Rheinberg gave the cause of death as hanging but said "the evidence does not sufficiently determine whether this was intentional or accidental".

When the latest allegations emerged against Bennell, Speed's family issued a statement in which they said he knew Bennell through football connections but he was "not a victim" and played no part in the investigation.

They added: "The Speed family have been assured that the police investigation at the time was exceptionally thorough and there is no legitimate reason to link Mr Bennell to Mr Speed."

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