Former Crewe Alexandra youth team coach, Barry Bennell, has been handed 30 years in prison
While passing the sentence the judge spoke of the now 64-year-old’s “trail of psychological devastation” just after victims had delivered their own statements.
One of them even approached the dock where Bennell was sitting to ask “why” as he looked blankly at Judge Clement Goldstone QC and at the floor, showing no emotion.
He also described him as “the devil incarnate” for the crimes carried out in the 1980s when he worked in football for Crewe Alex, Manchester City and also had connections with Stoke City.
Outside court one of the abuse survivors, Micky Fallon, declared “Today we looked evil in the face, and we smiled, because Barry Bennell, we have won. We hand our shame and our guilt and our sadness back to you. It should never have been ours to carry in the first place.”
Andy Woodward, who waived his anonymity in 2016 and inspired more victims into coming forward, said: “No sentence is long enough for that man. Right to the death he didn’t show any remorse or say sorry to anyone. I’m just proud that I did speak out, and if I hand’t of done we all wouldn’t be stood here now today.”
Steve Walters, who along with Woodward played for Crewe Alex, was another of Bennell’s victims: “Throughout this trial, Bennell has shown not one ounce of remorse, not one shred of decency, he is devious, calculating and scheming. He was then, and he is now.”
As the sentence was declared there were a few faint cries of “yes” followed by a brief applause as he was led away, before they were hushed by the judge. There was also applause for the survivors after they spoke outside court.
Many victims have already spoken since his latest convictions and declared that no amount of time behind bars would be long enough for the pain and suffering he has caused.
He was first jailed in the United States in the mid 1990s for crimes of this nature. When he returned to the UK in 1997 he was arrested again and subsequently jailed for nine years for sexually abusing children.
Another two-year jail sentence came is way in 2015 for abusing a 12-year-old boy after he’d invited him to a football course in Macclesfield.
The overall sentence, revealed today (Monday 19th February) of 31 years includes 30 in custody and one on licence and he could be released after half of that if the parole board consider him suitable.
Both Crewe Alexandra and Manchester City are carrying out their own investigations currently into sexual abuse.