Man wipes away tear at trial as he tells of ‘devil incarnate’ Barry Bennell

·3 min read

Paedophile former football coach Barry Bennell was a “devil incarnate” who has shown “zero remorse”, a victim has told a High Court judge.

The middle-aged man, who had been a talented schoolboy footballer and first met Bennell when aged about 12, wiped away a tear as he gave evidence to Mr Justice Johnson at a trial in the High Court in London on Tuesday.

He said “to this day” Bennell had shown “zero remorse”.

The man is one of eight men who have sued Manchester City for damages after complaining of being abused by Bennell more than 30 years ago.

Mr Justice Johnson has heard that Bennell, who worked as a coach at Crewe Alexandra, is serving a 34-year prison sentence after being convicted of sexual offences against boys on five separate occasions, four in the UK and one in the US, and is being held at Littlehey prison near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

He has been told 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.

The eight men, now in their 40s and 50s, say Bennell abused them when they were playing youth football in the north-west of England more than 30 years ago.

They say Bennell was operating as a Manchester City scout at the time.

City dispute claims made by the men.

Barry Bennell damages
A Manchester City branded corner flag (Mike Egerton/PA)

Lawyers representing the club say Bennell was a “local scout” in the mid-1970s but say he did not have a role in the 1980s.

City deny that Bennell was an employee or in a relationship “akin to employment” at “the material times” and deny being vicariously liable.

Mr Justice Johnson has heard how the club had set up a compensation scheme more than four years ago.

Bennell was jailed in 2018 after being convicted of abusing the man, and a number of other victims, after a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court.

The man said crown court judge Clement Goldstone had described Bennell as “sheer evil” and the “devil incarnate”.

“He was,” the man told Mr Justice Johnson.

“He has shown absolutely zero remorse.

“To this day he has shown zero remorse.”

The man recalled Bennell’s demeanour at the Liverpool Crown Court sentencing hearing.

“Throughout the hearing he was laughing, smirking,” the man told Mr Justice Johnson.

“He had just no acceptance.

“No remorse.”

The man told Mr Justice Johnson that he had first met Bennell in the early 1980s.

He said Bennell had been introduced as a Manchester City scout and told Mr Justice Johnson: “He was just renowned.

“Everybody knew him as the Manchester City scout.”

Mr Justice Johnson has heard that Bennell had carried a blue Manchester City calling card, describing him as himself as City’s “north-west representative’.

Barry Bennell damages
BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE A business card given out by Barry Bennell in which he describes himself as Manchester City’s ‘north-west representative’, the card has been shown at the High Court (Bolt Burdon Kemp/Handout/PA)

The man said Bennell’s football coaching was “second to none”.

He said Bennell sometimes brought professional footballers “with him” and recalled meeting former Manchester United stars Gordon Hill and Steve Coppell.

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