A former football coach at the centre of the sport’s child sex abuse scandal has pleaded guilty to seven charges.
Barry Bennell, 63, admitted six counts of indecent assault, carried out between 1988 and 1991, on the first day of his trial at Liverpool Crown Court. He had previously pleaded guilty to a further charge.
Bennell, now known as Richard Jones, is charged with 55 offences in total, including 42 counts of indecent assault, 11 serious sexual assaults and two counts of attempted sexual assault. The offences are alleged to have happened between 1979 and 1991.
The ex-Crewe Alexandra coach denies 48 sex offence charges involving 11 boys.
During the opening of his trial, prosecutors described Bennell as “predatory”, telling the court the defendant had abused one boy on more than 100 occasions.
Nicholas Johnson QC told the jury Mr Bennell had worked as a youth football coach in Cheshire, Manchester and Derbyshire. He said some of the abuse took place at the ground of Crewe Alexandra and during tours by the football club, but many incidents occurred at the defendant’s home addresses.
The trial, which is expected to last for eight weeks, continues.
Meanwhile, the Football Association’s independent inquiry into the scandal is ongoing. The probe began in December 2016 following allegations first made by ex-professional player Andy Woodward.
The inquiry, expected to cost around £1m, is expected to return its findings to the FA around April 2018. More than 740 alleged victims have come forward and 276 suspects have been identified.
Operation Hydrant, the specialist police unit in charge of the operation, has received nearly 2,000 referrals and a number of court cases involving professional clubs are underway.
How can our personal injury lawyers help?
If you are a victim of sexual abuse in football or in sport, please contact us for help and legal advice.
We have a specialist team who can provide sensitive care and expert guidance to those who may wish to bring civil claims for compensation as a result of sexual abuse in their past.
The Suffolk law firm, which has offices in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Melton, Hadleigh or Woodbridge, is partnered with the Ipswich based charity Survivors in Transition (SiT). The charity aims to empower both female and male survivors to take control of their lives and cope better with the daily effects the abuse has left them with.
Gotelee are members of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, which enables us to bring together a team of experts, including doctors, counsellors, psychiatrists and specialist barristers.
For more information or assistance on this matter, please contact call 01473 298125.