Manchester City used paedophile football coach Barry Bennell to pick boys and he 'had quite a bit of influence', claims former scout

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Manchester City used paedophile football coach Barry Bennell to pick boys and he 'had quite a bit of influence', claims former scout

  • Evidence from Barry Bennell has been heard for the first time at the High Court 
  • He provided a witness statement to lawyers acting on behalf of Manchester City 
  • The club faces compensation claims from eight men, now in their 40s and 50s

Evidence from paedophile football coach Barry Bennell has been heard for the first time at the High Court.

Extracts from a witness statement provided to lawyers acting on behalf of Manchester City from prison by the serial child sex offender were referred to on Tuesday, as the club faces compensation claims from eight men who say Bennell abused them while he was in a relationship with City that was ‘akin to employment’.

City dispute the claims made by the group, now in their 40s and 50s, which relate to the period 1979 to 1985.

Evidence from paedophile Barry Bennell has been heard for the first time at the High Court

Evidence from paedophile Barry Bennell has been heard for the first time at the High Court

Evidence from paedophile Barry Bennell has been heard for the first time at the High Court

Barry Bennell is currently serving a 34-year sentence for child abuse at Littlehey Prison

Barry Bennell is currently serving a 34-year sentence for child abuse at Littlehey Prison

Later this month, Bennell, 67, and previously described by a judge as ‘sheer evil’ and ‘the devil incarnate’, is due to appear via videolink from Littlehey Prison, Cambridgeshire, where he is serving a 34-year sentence.

But he has already provided City’s lawyers with information which was heard for the first time.

Talking about video footage of youngsters playing at Platt Lane, City’s former training ground, in which he featured, Bennell said he was asked by the club’s then chief scout, Ken Barnes, ‘to step in and coach one of the teams that was playing’.

He added: ‘To my amusement, the TV report made me out to be the main coach or head coach when in fact I was just doing Ken a favour on the day.’ Those claims were disputed by former City scout Ray Hinett, who was giving evidence on behalf of the eight claimants.

‘I do not believe that Barry Bennell is telling the truth when he says that he was simply doing Ken a favour on the day,’ he said in his statement. ‘These matches were always pre-arranged and Bennell was involved in them on a regular basis...it was obvious to see the close working relationship that Bennell had with Barnes.’

Mr Hinett, 80, also claimed that Bennell ‘had quite a bit of influence’ over Barnes and that he (Bennell) ‘used this to influence the boys’. In his statement, Hinett added: ‘I had the impression that Bennell’s opinion was highly valued by Ken Barnes. If Bennell suggested a boy was a decent prospect then it was a near certainty that Manchester City would offer associated schoolboy forms.’

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