Former British football coach Barry Bennell is facing sentence at a UK court on 50 offences of sexual abuse against 12 victims, aged between 8 -15 in the years 1979 and 1990.
In closing statements at Liverpool crown court in England, the prosecution said Bennell – who has been jailed three times before over sexual abuse – was a “child molester on an industrial scale”.
The development comes as an Al Jazeera Investigation into the background of a trial has been told that a former premiership footballer, who killed himself at the age of 42, was also almost certainly a child victim of the talent-spotting coach.
Gary Speed, whose 2011 death sent shockwaves across Britain‘s sports world, was described by Barry Bennell as a “special” child, a euphemism the now 64-year-old used for the boys he groomed, victims have said.
They also spoke of their own experiences of feeling compelled to accept Bennell’s invites to stay at his house, because of their ambitions to succeed in football, where they were assaulted and intimidated into remaining silent over the abuse they suffered and witnessed.
|Speed, whose 2011 death sent shockwaves across Britain’s sports world, was coached as a child by Bennell [Getty Images]|
Regarding Speed, a victim who wished to remain anonymous told Al Jazeera that he was “99.9 percent” certain the footballing legend was sexually abused as a child.
“I was there. I was a witness … On a few occasions, Gary was in the same bed. Barry would abuse one of us then turn over and then abuse the other,” said the victim.
Another victim, who also requested anonymity, said he witnessed Benne