Barry Bennell, paedophile former football coach, regularly involved in Man City schoolboy trials, court hears

Ex-football coach and convicted paedophile Barry Bennell regularly involved in schoolboy trials at Manchester City, a High Court judge hears.
Ex-football coach and convicted paedophile Barry Bennell regularly involved in schoolboy trials at Manchester City, a High Court judge hears.

Eight men, now in their 40s and 50s, are making damages claims against Manchester City, saying Bennell abused them

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Paedophile former football coach Barry Bennell was regularly involved in Manchester City schoolboy trials, a former scout has told a High Court judge.

Ray Hinett, 80, of Sandbach, Cheshire, told Mr Justice Johnson that Bennell “sorted out” teams at City trial games “on a regular basis”.

Andy Woodward, a previous victim of Barry Bennell, speaks to the media outside Liverpool Crown Court.
Andy Woodward, a previous victim of Barry Bennell, speaks to the media outside Liverpool Crown Court.

He was giving evidence at a High Court trial in London being overseen by Mr Justice Johnson.

Eight men, now in their 40s and 50s, have made damages claims against Manchester City and say Bennell abused them when they were playing football in north-west England more than 30 years ago.

They say Bennell was operating as a City scout and want damages from the club.

The judge has heard that the eight men were sexually and emotionally abused by Bennell between 1979 and 1985 and are claiming damages after suffering psychiatric injuries.

Six are also claiming damages for loss of potential football earnings.

One has told the judge that Bennell carried a City calling card describing himself as the club’s north-west representative.

City dispute claims made by the men.

Bosses say Bennell had been a local scout in the mid-1970s but was not a scout between 1979 and 1985.

Mr Justice Johnson on Tuesday saw a video, which lawyers say was taken between 1982 and 1984, showing Bennell talking to boys playing in a game at City’s training ground.

Bennell said in a witness statement that it “just so happened” he was there, a lawyer representing the eight men told the judge.

Mr Hinett, then a City scout, said the footage showed Bennell at a schoolboy trial game.

“He’s sorting the teams out,” Mr Hinett told the judge. “He did it on a regular basis. Usually it was Barry Bennell who sorted them out.”

He said Bennell probably also played a part in deciding which boys were chosen.

The judge has been told that Bennell, who worked as a coach at Crewe Alexandra, is serving a 34-year prison sentence at Littlehey Prison, Cambridgeshire, after being convicted of sexual offences against boys on five separate occasions – four in the UK and one in the US.

Bennell is due to give evidence by video-link from prison later this month.