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Ex-football coach Bennell labelled 'devil incarnate' and sentenced to 31 years

1:18 AM MYT 20/02/2018
Barry Bennell
A judge at Liverpool Crown Court branded the ex-Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra youth coach "sheer evil" as he announced his punishment

Former football coach and scout Barry Bennell has been sentenced to 31 years for child sexual abuse crimes.

Bennell, 64, was convicted of 43 offences against 11 boys aged eight to 15 between 1979 and 1991 by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court last week.

The former Crewe Alexandra coach and Manchester City scout admitted to seven charges of indecent assault on three boys before the trial, two of whom were also part of the allegations he was tried on.

Bennell, who had previously appeared via a videolink during his trial, was present in the court room for the first time to hear victim impact statements on Monday prior to his sentencing by judge Clement Goldstone.

Goldstone asked police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider if there is "continuing public interest" in bringing new criminal court proceedings against Bennell based on further allegations.

The judge went on to describe Bennell as "sheer evil", and said: “To those boys you appeared as a god... in reality, you were the devil incarnate. You stole their childhood and heir innocence to satisfy your own perversions.”

He added: "If the boys tried to resist, you convinced them their football careers would suffer."

His former employers City this month issued a statement expressing sympathy with the victims and detailing an internal review launched in 2016, which is on-going and has identified allegations of child sex abuse in relation to two men with potential historic connections to the club, one of whom is Bennell.

Crewe, meanwhile, expressed their "deepest sympathies" to the victims of Bennell, and stressed their commitment to "continue to provide cooperation [to the police] as and when required."