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Barry Bennell: Paedophile ex-coach denies connection with Manchester City as eight men sue club for child abuse damages

Paedophile former football coach Barry Bennell has denied a connection with Manchester City during a period in which he is alleged to have abused eight boys.

Bennell was giving evidence at the High Court over his involvement with the Premier League club when he was a youth football scout.

Eight men, who are now in their 40s and 50s, are claiming damages from Manchester City.

This rare appearance is an insight into the mindset of one of the country’s most prolific paedophiles once described by a judge as “the devil incarnate”.

The former youth football coach was speaking via video-link from prison where he’s serving a 34-year sentence for sexually abusing boys as young as eight.

Wearing a red sweater, glasses and a facemask, Bennell was sitting next to a box of files at Littlehey Prison in Cambridgeshire – a facility for sexual offenders.

The lawyer representing Manchester City began by asking if he wished to remove his facemask or if he needed to keep it on due to prison regulations.

Bennell responded that he “had five teeth taken out recently” so opted to keep the mask on.

When asked his name he responded “Richard Jones” before confirming to the court he had changed his name from Barry Bennell.

The 67-year-old has been called as a witness at a trial where Manchester City is being sued for damages by eight men who claim they were abused by Bennell while playing for school football teams between 1979 and 1985.

The men are claiming damages for psychiatric injuries. Six are also seeking compensation for loss of potential football earnings.

Bennell told the court he admitted to abusing some of the eight men, now in their 40s and 50s, when they were boys but told the judge he had not been a City “coach” during the period the men say they were abused.

He also said his “junior teams” had no connection with City.

Bennell said he had used his “previous connection” with City as “a draw for players to join my junior teams” but said “none of the teams they played for that I ran were in any way connected with MCFC,” in a written witness statement.

“However, I can entirely understand why some of the claimants may have genuinely believed they were playing for teams connected with MCFC because I was responsible for creating that belief.”

He added: “Throughout my involvement in junior football I always used and exploited my previous connections for my own benefit.”

James Counsell QC, the lawyer representing the men, ran through a long list of other past offences – some of which Bennell had previously pleaded guilty to – including the rape of young boys who were in his care.

“You have been convicted by five separate courts of abusing young boys?” Mr Counsell asked.

“It doesn’t mean it’s true,” Bennell replied.

“How many boys do you say you’ve abused?”

“I’m not answering that question,” Bennell responded.

“How many boys do you say, in the years between the 1970s and 1990s, have you sexually abused?” Mr Counsell said.

“I’m not prepared to go into that,” Bennell replied. “I’ve been found guilty. I’ve pled guilty. I’ve done time. I’m doing time. What more do you want?”

Bennell became angry when responding to some of the prosecution’s questions regarding his abuse of boys. Even on the occasions where he acknowledged his guilt there was no sign of any remorse.

Bennell’s evidence is expected to last two days.

Manchester City denies the claims.



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