February 20 – Former coach Barry Bennell, the serial paedophile whose sickening treatment of aspiring youngsters mainly in the 1980s rocked British football, was sentenced to 31 years in jail on Monday for 50 counts of child sexual abuse.
Bennell, described as the “devil incarnate” by the judge, was convicted of abusing 12 boys aged eight to 15 between 1979 and 1991. Judge Clement Goldstone QC said Bennell, 64, was “sheer evil”.
Bennell shook his head as the judge sentenced him and there was clapping from the public gallery as he left court.
“To those boys you appeared as a god… in reality you were the devil incarnate,” Judge Goldstone said. “You stole their childhoods and their innocence.”
Bennell was ordered to attend the hearing, having previously appeared via video-link throughout the five-week trial due to illness.
The judge said Bennell, who worked at Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra, was “hell-bent” on abusing boys, and left a “trail of psychological devastation”.
“If the boys tried to resist, you convinced them their football careers would suffer,” he said.
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