Barry Bennell, the notorious former football coach, and convicted paedophile, has passed away in prison at the age of 69.
Bennell, who also used the alias Richard Jones, was handed a 30-year prison sentence in 2018 following his conviction on 50 counts of child sexual offences against 12 young boys.
His crimes spanned from the 1970s to the 1990s, during which time he worked as a coach for Crewe Alexandra and as a scout for Manchester City.
One of his victims expressed his hope that Bennell’s last decade had been as “difficult as possible.”
Barry Bennell Cause of Death
Bennell died on Saturday at HMP Littlehey, located near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire. The Prison Service has announced that an investigation will be conducted by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman into his death.
Bennell had been battling cancer for several years, undergoing surgeries to remove tumors from his tongue in 2004 and 2016. However, reports indicated that he was in remission as of 2020, and the cause of his death has not been disclosed.
David Lean, who was abused by Bennell after meeting him at a Butlin’s holiday park in Pwllheli, north Wales, expressed his relief at hearing of Bennell’s death. Lean said, “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.” He added, “I just hope that last 10 years has been as difficult as possible.”
Bennell’s multiple convictions included a 1994 case in Florida, where he was imprisoned for raping a British boy during a football tour in the United States.
He faced prison sentences in the UK in 1998, 2015, 2018, and 2020. In the wake of his 2018 convictions, more than 80 additional victims came forward to report abuse.
During his 2020 sentencing hearing, prosecutors described Bennell as responsible for the “industrial sexual abuse of boys” and highlighted his role in shaping the careers of numerous international footballers.
Throughout his 2018 trial, Bennell’s victims revealed how he maintained a powerful hold over them as they aspired to become professional footballers. His status at Manchester City’s Maine Road ground was described as godlike.