Paedophile football coach Bennell given go ahead to appeal against sentence

Serial paedophile football coach Barry Bennell has been granted permission to appeal against his 30-year jail sentence.

The former Crewe Alexandra coach and Manchester City scout was imprisoned in February after he was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court of 50 child sexual offences committed against 12 boys he coached between 1979 and 1991.

During his six-week trial, Bennell, 64, was said to have committed "industrial scale" levels of abuse against vulnerable prepubescent boys in his care.

Barry Bennell to appeal sentence
Paedophile football coach Barry Bennell (Cheshire Police/PA)

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

Labelling him "the devil incarnate", Judge Clement Goldstone QC told him he would serve half of the 30-year term in custody with the rest on licence.

He was also ordered to serve an additional licence period of one year.

Judge Goldstone said Bennell's abuse had destroyed the enthusiasm his victims had for playing football and had led to them suffering problems including suicidal thoughts, alcoholism and depression.

Bennell previously served three jail terms, totalling 15 years, for similar offences involving 16 other victims.

A spokesman for the Judicial Office said a date had not yet been set for the sentence appeal hearing.

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

Cheshire Police continues to investigate.

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