Latest: Victims react to 'devil incarnate' Barry Bennell's sentence

Latest: Speaking outside court, victim Andy Woodward, whose decision to go public led to the latest trial, said he had mixed emotions.

He said: "No sentence is long enough for that man and right to the death he didn't show any remorse or say sorry to anyone."

Jason Dunford (left) and Chris Unsworth outside Liverpool Crown Court. Pic: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

In a statement read outside court, victim Gary Cliffe said: "The offences happened when we were children, now we are men.

"We did not forget, we came after you, Bennell. Now you are in prison due to us.

"If any more survivors wish to come forward and unlock the suffering, please do so.

"The hurt is not yours to carry, it is his."

Earlier: Serial paedophile Barry Bennell sentenced to 30 years

Serial paedophile Barry Bennell has been branded "the devil incarnate" by a judge who jailed him for 30 years for abusing 12 young footballers he coached.

The former Crewe Alexandra coach and Manchester City scout was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court of 50 child sexual offences committed between 1979 and 1991.

Bennell, 64, may have more than 100 victims in total as an additional 86 complainants have come forward to say they too were abused by him.

Sentencing Bennell on Monday, the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Clement Goldstone QC, said: "Your behaviour towards these boys in grooming and seducing them before subjecting them to, in some cases, the most most serious, degrading and humiliating abuse was sheer evil."

He said Bennell had appeared to his victims as a God but added: "In reality, you were the devil incarnate. You stole their childhoods and their innocence to satisfy your own perversion."

Bennell looked at the floor and nodded as the judge sentenced him. Some members of the public began to applaud as he was sent down, but were stopped by the judge.

Judge Goldstone said Bennell's abuse had destroyed the enthusiasm his victims had for playing football and had led to them suffering problems including suicidal thoughts, alcoholism and depression.

He said: "Each has suffered and now, more than 30 to 35 years after you ruined these boys', now mens', lives, continues to suffer."

Bennell has already served three jail terms, totalling 15 years, for similar offences involving 16 other victims.

During his six-week trial, the defendant was said to have committed "industrial scale" levels of abuse against vulnerable pre-pubescent boys in his care.

Complainants told how he had a "power hold" over them as they dreamed of becoming professional footballers.

Earlier in the hearing one of his victims walked over to the courtroom dock and calmly said: "Barry. Barry. Why?"

Police officer Gary Cliffe read out his victim personal statement from the witness box and then approached the glass dock

Bennell, 64, did not respond and looked downwards as a dock officer sat behind the defendant stood up and an usher intervened before a court police officer escorted Mr Cliffe, a detective constable with Staffordshire Police, to his seat in the packed public gallery.

Mr Cliffe, who has waived his anonymity, was one of four complainants who went into the witness box at Liverpool Crown Court to read their statements, while those of three others were read out by prosecutor Nicholas Johnson QC.

The judge said half of the 30-year term will be served in custody with the rest on licence, with an additional licence period of one year

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook dated 14/12/16 of former football coach Barry Bennell appearing via video link at South Cheshire Magistrates Court.

Barry Bennell appears in court for sentencing

Paedophile football coach Barry Bennell has appeared in the dock to be sentenced.

The 64-year-old, who wore a blue jumper and white polo shirt for the hearing, was transferred from HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes to Liverpool Crown Court.

He had appeared via videolink from prison for his five-and-a-half week trial because of health problems.

The former Crewe Alexandra coach will be sentenced for 50 child sexual offences, with many of those specimen counts to reflect the numerous occasions the "industrial scale" abuser targeted some of his 12 victims between 1979 and 1991.

One of Bennell's victims approached the dock after reading an impact statement to the court and said "Barry. Barry. Why?"

He was stopped from getting close to the dock by a court usher and asked to return to his seat by Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Clement Goldstone QC.

Bennell stared ahead at the judge with his arms folded as sentencing began but he looked downwards when the victim statements were read out - some by the complainants from the witness box and some by prosecutor Nicholas Johnson QC.

One victim who read a statement to the court said: "Not a day goes by without thinking about the abuse I received. I was just a child."

Eleanor Laws QC, mitigating, said Bennell had suffered from cancer in the past and had operations to remove tumours from his tongue in 2004 and 2016.

She said he was also on anti-anxiety medication.

She said: "All of this, we submit, means his time in custody will be less comfortable and more difficult than it would be for someone without all these concerns."

Judge Goldstone adjourned the case until 2.15pm when he will pass sentence.

More to follow.


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