Barry Bennell to be sentenced for historical sexual assaults against young boys

Serial paedophile football coach Barry Bennell will be sentenced for hundreds of historical sexual assaults committed on young boys in his care.

Bennell, 64, was convicted of 50 child sexual offences at Liverpool Crown Court, with many of those specimen counts to reflect the numerous occasions the "industrial scale" abuser targeted some of his 12 victims between 1979 and 1991.

Following the delivery of the final jury verdicts last week, it was revealed the ex-Crewe Alexandra coach and Manchester City scout may have more than 100 victims in total as an additional 86 complainants have come forward to say they too were abused by him.

Court artist sketch of Barry Bennell appearing via video link at South Cheshire Magistrates' Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)
Court artist sketch of Barry Bennell appearing via video link at South Cheshire Magistrates' Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Bennell has already served three jail terms - one in the United States - since 1995 for similar offences involving 16 separate victims.

He will be produced from custody at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes on Monday to be sentenced by the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Clement Goldstone QC.

Several complainants are expected to enter the witness box and face Bennell directly in the dock and read out victim impact statements.

Bennell had followed proceedings in the six-week trial from prison videolink for health reasons because he needs to be regularly fed by tube after he developed oral cancer more than a decade ago.

Following the close of the prosecution case he chose not to give evidence in his defence and none was called on his behalf.

During the trial, prosecutor Nicholas Johnson QC described Bennell as a "devious paedophile" who systematically abused vulnerable pre-pubescent boys.

Complainants told how he had a "power hold" over them as they dreamed of becoming professional footballers.

Bennell was compared to the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, luring boys to his homes in the Peak District where he had arcade games and exotic pets including a puma and a monkey.

He also abused them on trips away and in his car while on the way to and from football training.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on 43 counts of abuse against 11 boys, involving offences of buggery, attempted buggery and indecent assault.

Before the trial started last month, Bennell pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault involving three boys, two of whom were part of the trial.

The defendant, who has changed his name to Richard Jones, told police he admitted having a "grooming process" and being attracted to teenage boys.

But he denied most of the allegations and said complainants were "jumping on the bandwagon" following publicity sparked by one of his previous victims, Andy Woodward, waiving his anonymity to give media interviews in November 2016.

Sentencing takes place from noon.

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