Barry Bennell, Serial Paedophile Who Abused Boys as Football Coach, Dies in Prison

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Bennell died of cancer at the age of 69 on Saturday morning while serving combined prison sentences at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire for more than 50 offences against 22 boys while coaching them in the 1980s and 1990s

Paedophile former football coach Barry Bennell has died in prison, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Bennell was serving a 34-year sentence for child sex offences in HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire.

He was convicted of more than 50 sexual offences against 22 boys in 2018. He was given a 30-year sentence, but this was extended to 34 when he was further convicted of abusing two other boys.

He used his position as a youth coach in the 1980s and 1990s to abuse boys in his care.

Sentencing Bennell, the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Clement Goldstone QC, told him: "Your behaviour towards these boys in grooming and seducing them before subjecting them to, in some cases, the most serious, degrading and humiliating abuse was sheer evil."

He said Bennell had appeared to his victims as a God but added: "In reality, you were the devil incarnate.

"You stole their childhoods and their innocence to satisfy your own perversion."

Bennell had shown no remorse whatsoever for his offences, with the exception of some relatively minor abuse he admitted, the judge added.

Bennell’s first conviction was in Florida for an offence he carried out while on tour with a Staffordshire youth team and he served four years in prison for four counts of indecent assault on a 13-year-old boy.

He was then deported to stand trial for attacks carried out in the UK after a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation.

In June 1998 he pleaded guilty at Manchester crown court to 23 counts of sexual abuse of 15 boys aged between nine and 14, between 1978 and 1992. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

In 2016, former professional footballer Andy Woodward told the Guardian that he had been a victim of Bennell, with other former players following suit.

Bennell, also known as Richard Jones, was further jailed for 30 years in 2018 after being convicted of 52 child sexual offences against 12 boys.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Prisoner Barry Bennell died at HMP Littlehey on 16 September 2023. As with all deaths in custody, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will investigate.”