Former football coach Barry Bennell has been found guilty of carrying out “industrial scale” sexual abuse of young players while working with Crewe Alexandra and Manchester City.
The 64-year-old, who had denied 48 charges, has been found guilty on 36 counts, including indecent assault and serious sexual assaults against boys aged eight to 15. The crimes he committed included rape and indecent assault.
The verdicts come after a lengthy trial at Liverpool Crown Court during which victims revealed that they would cry when Bennell abused them over 12 years and how they felt they could never speak out.
The jury also heard how Bennell would take his teams to a 'haunted house' in Wales and would show them horror movies in order that they would be more receptive to physical comfort, which would lead to abuse.
Bennell abused boys in his car whilst taking them to training and often used a game he called 'Follow Me', during which he would touch the child and require them to do the same in return. Assaults also took place under the cover of darkness in his bedroom while the victim's team-mates slept metres away.
At the time of the offences, which occurred between 1979 and 1990, Bennell was working as a youth scout for Manchester City and a coach at Crewe Alexandra.
Police brought charges against the 64-year-old after a group of his former players waived their right to lifelong anonymity in 2016 to speak publicly about the abuse that they had suffered.
Bennell has previously been jailed three times for offences against other young footballers, and in a recorded interview with Cheshire Police said: “I regret everything I've done.”
He served three years in a US jail for abusing a 13-year-old British boy while in America, before being arrested when he returned to the UK after his release. Pleading guilty to a further 23 specimen charges, he was sentenced to a further nine years in jail in 1998.
The jury at Liverpool Crown Court returned guilty verdicts on 36 counts and will continue deliberating the remaining 7 counts on Wednesday morning.