Former coach gets 4 more years in prison for sexual abuse

CHESTER, England (AP) — A former English youth soccer coach was sentenced to an extra four years in prison Thursday after more convictions for sexually abusing young players, taking the total length of his jail term to 34 years.

Barry Bennell, a former coach at Crewe Alexandra and scout at Manchester City, had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to nine sexual offenses against two boys between 1979 and 1988. The victims were between the ages of 11 and 14 at the time.

Bennell appeared via videolink at Chester Crown Court in northwest England and was handed his fifth jail term. It will be served consecutively to his current prison sentence of 30 years from when he was convicted in 2018 of 52 child sexual offenses from 1979-91.

On that occasion, the judge called Bennell the “devil incarnate.” On Thursday, judge Patrick Thompson said the former coach was “a parent’s worst nightmare.”

“That, I’m afraid, is your legacy and changing your name will not change that,” Thompson told Bennell, who is also now known as Richard Jones. “Whilst the complainants may not have achieved their dreams of becoming sporting heroes, they are heroes, nonetheless.”

The court was told Bennell had a detached retina after being attacked in prison and was in remission from cancer.

One of the two victims in the latest case said in a personal statement read to the court that he had given up soccer after suffering a panic attack while playing for his national team.

“Bennell ruined my boyhood dreams and took that away from me,” he said.

Bennell was first jailed in Florida in 1994 for raping a British boy on a soccer tour in the United States. He was also given prison sentences in Britain in 1998, 2015 and in 2018.

Some 86 complainants came forward to say they were abused by Bennell following the 2018 trial.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © 2020 . All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Comments

Sign up for breaking news alerts