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Former youth football coach, Barry Bennell, has been sentenced to 31 years in prison after being convicted of 50 counts of sexual assaults on boys aged 8-15.

During the hearing, the Court had been told of Bennell’s abuse of 12 boys between 1979 – 1990. He was described by Prosecutors as a “predatory paedophile” who abused boys on an “industrial scale.” Sentencing Bennell, Judge Clement Goldstone QC said "to those boys you appeared as a god... in reality you were the devil incarnate."

Mr Andy Woodward, a survivor of Mr Bennell’s abuse spoke outside Court after guilty verdicts were announced. He said that whilst justice has been served “the football clubs that were accountable for this… could have stopped this for so many years.”

Crewe Alexander, denied any knowledge of sexual abuse or complaints of such either before or during his employment at the club. Bennell also worked for Manchester City’s youth teams. They have said that they are keen to speak to any survivors or witnesses of sexual abuse connected to Manchester city.

The Football Association has also set up an independent inquiry into the allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse in football. They urged survivors to contact the police when they are ready and able to do so.

Sadly, it is highly unlikely that Barry Bennell was alone in his abuse of young boys. Survivors of Bennell’s abuse hope that their case encourages other survivors of childhood abuse to come forward in order to hold their perpetrators to account. It is important that the sports industry considers its role and the proper accountability for such abuse at the hands of those in authority.

Our team, led by Natalie Marrison have extensive experience in pursuing compensation claims arising from abuse including those within the sports industry. We listen to and support survivors through every step of the process, including police reporting, ensuring open conversations in total trust, at a pace that suits them, and in the strictest of confidence. If you have experienced abuse or continue to experience abuse please contact Ramsdens Child Abuse team for a confidential discussion on 0113 8871834.