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Paedophile football coach Barry Bennell loses sentence challenge

Court of Appeal judges ruled his 30-year jail term for sex offences against boys he coached was not excessive.

Paedophile football coach Barry Bennell has lost a challenge against his 30-year prison sentence for child sex offences.

Three Court of Appeal judges in London ruled on Wednesday that the length of his jail term for multiple offences against boys he coached was not excessive.

The former Crewe Alexandra coach and Manchester City scout was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court in February for 52 offences committed against 12 boys he coached between 1979 and 1991.

Bennell’s appeal was listed under his new name, Richard Jones, and was heard by Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith and Mr Justice Choudhury.

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Bennell is a former Crewe Alexandra coach and Manchester City scout (Cheshire Police/PA)

Dismissing his challenge, Lady Justice Hallett said that because of the “huge scale” of his offending it would be “wrong” for the court to interfere with the sentence.

His prison term could not be described as “manifestly excessive or wrong in principle”.

During his six-week trial, Bennell, 64, was said to have committed “industrial scale” levels of abuse against vulnerable prepubescent boys in his care.

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

Labelling him “the devil incarnate”, Judge Clement Goldstone QC told him he would serve half of the 30-year term in custody with the rest on licence.

He was also ordered to serve an additional licence period of one year.

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 had previously served three jail terms, totalling 15 years, for similar offences involving 16 other victims.

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