EX-FOOTBALL coach Barry Bennell has been found guilty of multiple sex offences against boys in the 1980s.
Bennell, 64, was convicted of 36 charges including indecent assault and serious sexual assaults against boys aged eight to 15.
The jury at Liverpool Crown Court could not reach verdicts on seven counts after four days of deliberation. They will continue discussions today.
The judge directed them to find Bennell not guilty on three other counts.
During the trial prosecutors said Bennell was a “predatory and determined paedophile” who molested young boys on an “industrial scale”.
They compared Bennell to the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, while his victims described his home as a “paradise” for young boys, where they would play games and be given takeaway food.
‘HOLD’ OVER VICTIMS
Boys were abused at his home – where he had arcade games and exotic pets including a puma and a monkey – on trips away, and in his car on the way to and from training.
The youth scout and junior football coach was associated with a number of clubs including Stoke City, Manchester City and, most notably, Crewe Alexandra.
In their evidence to the court, his victims said they dreamed of becoming professional footballers and as a result Bennell had a “power hold” over them.
One of Bennell’s victims Chris Unsworth told the court Bennell had raped him “about half a dozen times”.
He was a junior footballer playing for his local club and Bennell at the time worked as a scout for Manchester City.
Bennell was convicted of all five charges against Mr Unsworth, when he was aged between eight and 14.
THREE JAIL TERMS
Bennell, who is now known as Richard Jones, appeared in court via videolink due to illness.
The jury was told Bennell had previously received three jail sentences in the UK and in the US after being convicted of abusing boys.
He chose not to offer any evidence or witnesses in his defence and had told police he was suffering from cancer, which in turn had caused memory problems. His barrister accused the complainants of inventing stories about him and “jumping on the bandwagon”.