No evidence at Gary Speed inquest to say death had Barry Bennell link, jury told

No evidence was called at the inquest of former Wales manager Gary Speed to suggest his death was linked to Barry Bennell, a jury has been told.

Closing the Crown's case on Thursday, prosecuting junior counsel Owen Edwards reminded jurors of the evidence heard last month from a 1998 alleged abuse victim of the defendant.

He said the man claimed Speed was one of four who went on to take their own lives after being coached by Bennell - who has changed his name to Richard Jones.

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

"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 because he read in the paper they had not been able to get closure because they had no explanation for his death.

Former football coach Barry Bennell (PA)
Former football coach Barry Bennell (PA)

As part of agreed facts presented to the jury, Mr Edwards said after the conclusion of his evidence the witness was asked by police to clarify the names of the four men who all played youth football with teams associated with Crewe Alexandra.

Police went on to make inquiries and confirmed that Speed was found deceased by his wife at their home address on November 27 2011. He was found hanging 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, commited suicide on February 18 2006.

Mr Edwards told the jury at Liverpool Crown Court: "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."

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

The trial of Bennell, 64, who denies 48 counts of historical child sex abuse, continues on Monday.

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