Trial: Ex-soccer coach accused of abuse when Man City scout

Liverpool crown court heard that Barry Bennell had a “big power hold” over aspiring young footballers

Liverpool crown court heard that Barry Bennell had a “big power hold” over aspiring young footballers

EX-football coach Barry Bennell abused boys in a "haunted house" by making them a play a game called "Follow Me" where he put his hands inside their trousers, a court heard.

Giving evidence in court, Mr Unsworth said he was a junior footballer playing for his local club when he first met Mr Bennell, who at the time worked as a scout for Manchester City. Bennell allegedly started sexually abusing him while driving him to training.

He said that he and other boys would stay at Bennell's house, where he had two...

He added: 'I can recall one time being in a dormitory which was full of bunk beds and somebody waking up with a sheep's or ram's head on their bunk bed or actually in their sleeping bag. "You was hoping he would not ask you", he said. "No one could see because it was in darkness apart from the light of the TV".

Benell has already admitted seven sexual abuse charges, but denies a further 48, relating to 11 complainants.

Jurors have heard Bennell is a convicted sex offender who has served prison sentences in the UK and the United States.

He also described a "grooming process" where he would play fight with the boys and give them "treats". I use that saying "apron strings' - I know it's not nice but it's the truth". So everybody just wanted to please him.

He remembered the "haunted house" being in Llanrhos, near Conwy in north Wales, and other incidents frightening the boys, including mysterious knocking at doors.

One, known as witness A, claimed he was abused by the former Crewe and Manchester City coach up to a hundred times. "He waved his arm out and caught him".

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The abuse, he alleged, started to ease off when he hit puberty at the age of 13.

Unsworth alleged that sexual activity escalated and eventually led to Bennell raping him "about half a dozen times".

"The first time, I'll never forget it", he said.

"I was just crying, the pain". It felt like it went on for hours but it was probably two or three minutes'.

"As such, he had pretty much unfettered access to large numbers of young lads who dreamt of a life in professional football", Johnson said.

He added: "I just thought it was normal, this is what you have to do".

Ms Laws put it to the complainant: 'I am going to suggest that you were not sexually abused at all by Barry Bennell, do you agree or disagree?'

After a short recess the jury was shown a television interview in which former footballer Andy Woodward broke his silence about being abused. "Didn't even tell Mum or Dad".

The complainant told the court he was not aware of the possibility of a joint action court case against Crewe Alexandra or any other organisations.

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