Barry Bennell, also known as Richard Jones, a former football coach and scout, passed away in prison at the age of 69.
Bennell’s life ended behind bars, where he was serving a 30-year sentence following his 2018 conviction for 50 child sexual offences against 12 young boys.
His death raises questions about the legacy of abuse in the world of sports and the impact it has on survivors.
Bennell’s crimes date back to the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s when he was associated with Crewe Alexandra and Manchester City.
During this time, he abused vulnerable boys who aspired to become professional footballers. His reign of terror continued for decades, leaving a trail of emotional scars on his victims.
A Legacy of Pain: One of Bennell’s victims, David Lean, who encountered him at Butlin’s holiday park in Pwllheli, North Wales, expressed relief at hearing of Bennell’s death.
Lean, now a counselor, emphasized that he hoped the last 10 years of Bennell’s life had been “as difficult as possible.”
While Lean acknowledged Bennell’s family, he also reminded us of the pain inflicted on numerous survivors, highlighting the profound and lasting impact of Bennell’s actions.
Multiple Convictions: Bennell’s criminal history is a grim testament to the horrors he unleashed upon innocent children.
His first imprisonment occurred in 1994 in Florida, where he was found guilty of raping a British boy during a football tour in America.
Subsequently, he faced prison sentences in Britain in 1998, 2015, 2018, and 2020. Each time, the justice system sought to hold him accountable for his heinous crimes.
A Prolific Abuser: In 2018, when he was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court, it was suggested by Recorder of Liverpool Judge Clement Goldstone QC that Bennell “may well die in prison.”
It was during this time that more than 80 additional victims came forward, revealing the depth of his depravity.
Owen Edwards, prosecuting, described Bennell as responsible for “industrial sexual abuse of boys” and highlighted his role in shaping the careers of several international footballers.
The Power Hold: During the 2018 trial, Bennell’s victims recounted how he had a “power hold” over them as they dreamed of becoming professional footballers.
This psychological manipulation made it even more difficult for the survivors to come forward and seek justice.
Bennell’s ability to exploit the dreams and aspirations of these young boys underscores the insidious nature of his crimes.
- “It’s sort of happened in the way I wanted it to happen because I wanted him to go to prison for a period of time. I just hope that last 10 years has been as difficult as possible.” – David Lean, Survivor and Counselor
- “I appreciate he’s got children – and ultimately my thoughts are with his children today – but my thoughts are also with the many survivors because of the pain he has put everybody through.” – David Lean, Survivor and Counselor
- “He may well die in prison.” – Recorder of Liverpool Judge Clement Goldstone QC
- “Industrial sexual abuse of boys.” – Owen Edwards, Prosecutor