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Football coach Barry Bennell 'abused boys in haunted house'

13 January 2018

A court has been hearing testimony from the victims who allege they were abused by former football coach, Barry Bennell.

Bennell, who is 64, denies 48 child sex offenses against 11 complainants between 1979 and 1990.

It was after seeing this, they were told, that the victim giving evidence chose to come forward to police.

The testimony, provided via video, said that Benell, a scout for Manchester City at the time, was "touchy" with the alleged victim when he first met the coach at the age of about 11.

"He would move his hands around your body on the outside of your clothes, tickle you, and you would have to do the same to him", he said.

He added: "Every boy just dreamed of being a footballer". Bennell allegedly started sexually abusing him while driving him to training.

He said: "That tune just sends chills down my spine".

He said none of the boys spoke out about what was happening: "It was nearly like an untold rule, like "shut up". You knew but you didn't say anything. "He had a big power hold over us with that which was pretty horrific".

A transcript of a police interview with Mr Bennell in February a year ago was read to the court, which included a denial that he had abused Mr Unsworth.

Bennell is due to appear on video-link for the trial as he needs to be frequently fed through a tube due to illness, the court was told.

He said: "I had a victim; I didn't need two or three or four".

He added: "At the time I was probably sick of getting abused as well, I'd probably had enough".

The boys, who dreamed of a life in professional football would often stay over at Bennell's various addresses on the pretext of preparing for matches, Mr Johnson told the court. "It was only for that I was going to do it".

The alleged abuse escalated and eventually led to Mr Bennell raping him, Mr Unsworth told the jury.

He then made the decision to contact police. He has already served prison sentences in England and the United States but says he is the victim of a malicious campaign motivated by attention-seeking and compensation claims.

The jury was shown a recording of the BBC programme where former youth footballers described being abused by Bennell.

Cross-examined by Eleanor Laws QC, defending, Mr Unsworth denied discussing possible financial compensation with a solicitor or other alleged victims.

He said: "All I want is protection for my children, my grandchildren, the jury's children, so they are safe in society playing a sport".

He said he also was abused when he stayed overnight at Bennell's home.

He said the abuse went on until Bennell suddenly lost interest in him.

"That was his scene, he would try and scare the lads", he told the court.

The court was read a transcript of a police interview with Bennell conducted in February 2017.

Before the trial, Mr Bennell, an ex-Crewe Alexandra coach, admitted seven charges of indecent assault committed between 1981 and 1991, relating to three boys aged between 11 and 14.

He also described a "grooming process" where he would play fight with the boys and give them "treats".

Football coach Barry Bennell 'abused boys in haunted house'