"We are no longer afraid of you, Barry Bennell" survivors speak out

Ian Ackley says while it is easier to speak up on sexual abuse the football community must do more to stop'predatory adults

A jury at Liverpool Crown Court today convicted the former Crewe Alexandra and Manchester City youth coach Barry Bennell of seven more sex offences against young boys, on top of the 36 guilty verdicts returned on Tuesday.

Disgraced former British youth coach Barry Bennell was on Thursday found guilty of 43 counts of sexual abuse against 11 boys aged between eight and 15 in a case that has rocked English football.

"As a football coach he should have provided nothing more than safety and support for the players in his care", she said.

A cheer of "yes" came from the public gallery where six complainants sat with family members as the final verdicts were read out and some people were in tears. For decades that nightmare has haunted us.

Before the trial started last month, he pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault, including offences involving a 12th boy.

"For decades we lived in fear".

Shaking with emotion, the victims of Barry Bennell told of their decades of trauma inflicted by the paedophile football coach who destroyed their lives.

During the course of his trial, Bennell was described as a "child molester on an industrial scale" who would groom his victims and their families.

Barry Bennell has been jailed several times for sexually assaulting the boys he was coaching
Barry Bennell has been jailed several times for sexually assaulting the boys he was coaching

"The successful prosecution today of offences which took place many years ago should give others hope that they can have the confidence to come forward and talk about what happened to them and that their concerns will be taken seriously". I knew if I said those words I'd have to get my head in a space that took me back to that football club.

Chris Unsworth, who was abused by Bennell when he was a scout at Manchester City, reached out to other child sex abuse victims.

"How can it be that no one realized something was wrong?"

According to the most recent figures issued by a specialist police unit investigating non-recent child sexual abuse in British soccer, 294 alleged suspects have been identified and the number of victims stands at 839, ranging from age 4 to 20. How is it that no one protected us then?

Police sources disclosed yesterday that a further 86 people have come forward with allegations, meaning...

Crewe, which employed Bennell for two periods between January 1985 and January 1992, also expressed sympathy but said it was "not aware of any sexual abuse by Mr. Bennell, nor did it receive any complaint about sexual abuse by him, either before or during his employment with the club".

Former player Gary Cliffe, 47, who was abused by Bennell "hundreds" of times, said his "horrific" ordeal left him "hating" his childhood.

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