Barry Bennell was 'child molester on an industrial scale', court hears

Barry Bennell was 'child molester on an industrial scale', court hears

Some of the alleged abuse took place at Crewe Alexandra

Monday, February 5, 2018

Former football coach Barry Bennell was a "child molester on an industrial scale", a court has heard.

In his closing speech today (February 5), prosecutor Nicholas Johnson QC told Liverpool Crown Court Bennell himself had described his house, which had a pool table, arcade machines and exotic pets, as a "bit of a kids' paradise".

Johnson said: "The childcatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang… did it with cherry pie and lollipops.

"We suggest Mr Bennell is a child molester on an industrial scale and that's why he went to these lengths to get so many lads round to his house."

The jury was directed to return not guilty verdicts in relation to three offences the 64-year-old is charged with.

Giving legal directions, Recorder of Liverpool Judge Clement Goldstone QC said there was not enough evidence in relation to three counts of indecent assault.

He said one of the charges related to an offence alleged to have taken place in the changing rooms of Crewe Alexandra FC, where Bennell was a coach, but the abuse described by the complainant in court was less serious than the offence described in the particulars of the case.

Bennell denies 45 other offences of indecent assault, buggery and attempted buggery relating to 11 complainants between 1979 and 1990.

Johnson told the jury all of the complainants in the case had "cared only about one thing – becoming a professional footballer."

He claimed "many would do anything to achieve their dream" and Bennell exploited this.

Johnson also claimed Bennell had groomed the parents of the complainants so he could carry on the abuse and even married the sister of Andy Woodward, who he has previously admitted abusing.