Belfast Telegraph

Police investigating activities of paedophile football coach Bennell during Northern Ireland's Milk Cup

By Staff Reporter

Police are conducting an investigation into former football coach Barry Bennell's activities in Northern Ireland.

Bennell was jailed for 30 years in February for abusing 12 young footballers he coached between 1979 and 1991.

The PSNI confirmed that in November 2016 it received a report from a 40-year-old man in relation to historical abuse that took place in Co Antrim in 1990.

"PSNI officers are investigating this complaint and are continuing to work in conjunction with colleagues from the Cheshire Constabulary," a PSNI statement said.

It is understood the allegation against Bennell relates to a trip to Northern Ireland by Crewe Alexandra for the Milk Cup event.

Bennell was first convicted of sexual assault in Florida 24 years ago, and February marked his fourth conviction for historic offences.

Last year, former Northern Ireland player Mark Williams claimed he was abused by Bennell as a youth team player.

The ex-Premier League defender spoke of the shocking sexual abuse he suffered after waiving his right to anonymity.

Williams played 36 times for Northern Ireland between 1999 and 2005. He said he was abused by Bennell at Crewe Alexandra, where the convicted sex offender was a youth team coach. In a statement in November 2016, Williams said: "I have been watching events unfold during the last week and feel I cannot just sit back and watch my former team-mates suffer alone. I need to stand by their side. Their courage and bravery has inspired me to speak out about my own abuse at the hands of my former coach Barry Bennell.

"Barry Bennell abused me on two occasions - once at Pegasus, the Manchester City nursery team, when I was 11 years old, and then three years later when I had moved to Crewe Alexandra FC, where he was my coach as a schoolboy.

"My life has been affected irreversibly both personally and professionally and it has been soul-destroying to carry this burden for 30 years.

"I have felt chained down by fear of speaking out."

Williams called for stringent measures to be put in place to protect children in football.

In February, serial paedophile Bennell was branded "the devil incarnate" by the judge who jailed him for 30 years and warned he may die in prison.

The former Crewe Alexandra coach and Manchester City scout was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court of 50 child sexual offences committed against 12 boys between 1979 and 1991.

Judge Clement Goldstone QC told him: "Your behaviour towards these boys in grooming and seducing them before subjecting them to, in some cases, the most serious, degrading and humiliating abuse was sheer evil."

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