Bennell wore Manchester City kit when working as Butlins football coach, judge told

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Barry Bennell used to wear a Manchester City kit when working as a resident football coach at a Butlins holiday camp four decades ago, the father of an abuse victim has told a High Court judge.

The man told Mr Justice Johnson that former Crewe Alexandra coach Bennell, who is now serving a jail term after being convicted of child sex offences, that the camp at Pwllheli, Gwynedd, was advertised in the camp magazine as a Manchester City youth coach.

He said Bennell was the Pwllheli Butlins football coach during the summers of 1978, 1979 and, he thought, 1980.

The man indicated that his son, who turned 14 in 1980, had taken part in a coaching course at the camp in the late 1970s.

His son had revealed, a few years ago, that Bennell had abused him during his stay, the man told the judge.

The man was giving evidence at a High Court trial in London, being overseen by Mr Justice Johnson, on Thursday.

Eight men, now in their 40s and 50s, have made damages claims against Manchester City and say Bennell abused them when they were playing football in the north-west of England more than 30 years ago.

Barry Bennell Damages
A detailed view of a Manchester City corner flag (Richard Sellers/PA)

They say Bennell was operating as a Manchester City scout and want damages from the club.

The judge has heard the eight men were sexually and emotionally abused by Bennell between 1979 and 1985 and are claiming damages after suffering psychiatric injuries.

Six are also claiming damages for loss of potential football earnings.

Manchester City dispute claims made by the men.

Bosses say Bennell had been a local scout in the mid-1970s but was not a scout between 1979 and 1985.

“During the summer of 1978, 1979 and I think 1980 Bennell was the resident football coach at Pwllheli Butlins,” the man told the judge in a written witness statement.

“He ran coaching camps during the school holidays.

“Regrettably, I allowed (my son) to stay at Butlins with Bennell for three or four days during one holiday.”

He said: “Butlins had nothing to do with Manchester City Football Club, though Bennell did wear a Manchester City FC top and kit and they advertised him in their magazine as a Manchester City youth coach.

“I also remember that Bennell managed to get a couple of City players (Peter Barnes and Gary Owen if I remember correctly) to go down to present the Boy of the Week trophy.

“It was Bennell’s way of showing Butlins that he was well connected.”

Mr Justice Johnson said the man who gave evidence on Thursday could not be identified in media reports of the case.

The judge has been told that Bennell, who is serving a 34-year prison sentence after being convicted of sexual offences against boys on five separate occasions, four in the UK and one in the US, at Littlehey Prison near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

Bennell is due to give evidence, via video-link from prison, at the trial later this month.

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