Barry Bennell abused boys in remote 'haunted house', court told

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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.

The 63-year-old appeared at Liverpool Crown Court via video-link on Tuesday, accused of 48 counts of child sexual abuse.

The boy, who met Bennell when he attended a football training session in his role as a Manchester City scout, said he and his fellow footballers had an untold rule not to reveal what the coach was doing.

"He would move his hands around your body on the outside of your clothes, tickle you, and you would have to do the same to him", he said.

Bennell also called some of the claims against him "ridiculous" and said he'd never do some of the things alleged while there were other boys in the bed at the same time.

He said he had not told anyone about the abuse until November 2016 when he saw other alleged victims of sexual abuse on the Victoria Derbyshire show.

But, he said, the game would keep going until his hands were "inside your shirt or inside your underpants" and it happened regularly, if not every time Bennell gave him a lift.

The alleged abuse included around half a dozen occasions when he was raped.

However, he said none of the boys spoke out about what was happening, adding: "It was nearly like an untold rule, like "shut up".

He told the court: "I just thought it was normal, this is what you have to do". "He had a big power hold over us with that, which was pretty horrific".

Bennell who is appearing in court via video-link due to illness denies 48 counts of historical child sex abuse between 1979 and 1990
Bennell who is appearing in court via video-link due to illness denies 48 counts of historical child sex abuse between 1979 and 1990

"As soon as you started turning up with pubic hair you were past your sell-by date and you were gone, " he said.

He then made the decision to contact police.

In the interview, Mr Bennell said: "I always tended to aim for the 13-year-olds because that was puberty age and they were becoming a bit more strong-willed and not tied to the apron strings".

According to Sky News, the jury was shown a television interview in which former footballer Andy Woodward spoke up about being abused.

Cross-examined by Eleanor Laws QC, defending, Mr Unsworth denied discussing possible financial compensation with a solicitor or other alleged victims.

He said: "All I want is protection for my children, my grandchildren, the jury's children, so they are safe in society playing a sport".

He told the jury he was also abused at Mr Bennell's then home in the Peak District, where boys would watch horror movies in the dark, often sharing Mr Bennell's bed.

Unsworth alleged that abuse also took place at Bennell's home.

He said he remembered the complainant was "nice looking", but said he was not one of the boys he had abused.

The trial is expected to last two months.

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