Barry Bennell, Convicted Paedophile Former Football Coach, Dies in Prison

Barry Bennell, also known as Richard Jones, has died in prison at the age of 69. He was serving a 30-year sentence after being convicted of 52 child sexual offences against 12 boys. The former Crewe Alexandra coach carried out his abuse during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Bennell’s death occurred at HMP Littlehey on September 16, 2023. The Prison Service has stated that the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will investigate, as is customary in cases of deaths in custody. The cause of his death has not been disclosed.

Throughout his imprisonment, Bennell was receiving treatment for cancer and had undergone surgeries to remove tumors from his tongue. He was reportedly in remission in 2020. Judge Clement Goldstone QC had predicted that Bennell “may well die in prison” during his 2018 sentencing.

This most recent imprisonment was Bennell’s fifth, with previous convictions and prison sentences in Florida in 1994, as well as in the United Kingdom in 1998, 2015, 2018, and 2020. Following his 2018 conviction, more than 80 additional alleged victims came forward to report abuse.

During his trial, Bennell’s victims recounted the power he held over them as aspiring professional footballers, describing him as treated like a god at Manchester City’s Maine Road ground. The abuse took place in his homes, on trips, and in his car during transportation to and from training.

Bennell’s case has had a significant impact on the football community. He not only perpetrated the abuse but also played a role in the careers of several international footballers. The former Crewe manager, Dario Gradi, has been stripped of his MBE, and a new TV drama is being produced to tell one victim’s story. However, three men lost their case against Manchester City over Bennell’s abuse.

Support is available for those affected by the issues raised in this article through the BBC Action Line.

– The BBC
– HM Prison Service