Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Sex-abuse trial delayed after juror falls ill

Sex-abuse trial delayed after juror falls ill

Bennell's trial at Liverpool Crown Court heard he coached a number of junior boys' teams in the early to mid-1980s which provided youth recruits for City.

Football coach Barry Bennell, described as a "child molester on an industrial scale", has been convicted of 50 counts of child sex abuse against 11 victims in a case involving allegations of abuse against dozens of children.

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.

He was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault and two counts of buggery against a second complainant and four counts of indecent assault against a third complainant.

"We will, of course, invite you to endeavour to reach unanimous verdicts in relation to the remaining counts, but if you are unable to do so (we will accept) verdicts in which respect of 10 of you agree".

He regularly drove some of his victims to the club's then Maine Road stadium and Platt Lane training ground - although there was no evidence that abuse took place at either location.

For some people, the emotion was overwhelming and tears began to flow as the trial finally came to an end.

He also demanded an apology from Crewe Alexandra.

The club said it was not aware of any sexual abuse by Bennell and only became aware of any offences committed by him when he was arrested in the United States in 1994.

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Previous victim Andy Woodward, whose decision to speak out about Bennell led to the trial, said he was proud to have helped other victims get the justice they deserved.

Ex-Crewe Alexandra player Steve Walters accused the game's authorities of turning a blind eye to the grooming by Bennell of hundreds of young footballers "in plain view" and that a "culture of complacency and cover up was allowed to take root".

In transcripts of police interviews which were read in court, Bennell, who has changed his name to Richard Jones, told the police about his grooming process and abuse of boys, but claimed the complainants in the case were "jumping on the bandwagon" following publicity.

Another person with "potential historic connections" to Manchester City has been linked with serious allegations of child sex abuse, the club has said.

Manchester City said they are also continuing to "exhaustively examine" a number of reports of "historic anomalous behaviours".

He abused the boys at his homes, where he had arcade games and exotic pets including a puma and a monkey, but also on trips away and in his vehicle while on the way to and from training.

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

But the jury was later told there was no evidence to link their deaths to Bennell.

His barrister, Eleanor Laws QC, described him as being a "sitting target" after being convicted of child sexual abuse in the 1990s and in 2015.

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