Barry Bennell trial: Boys had 'untold rule not to report abuse'

Chris Unsworth 45 says Bennell 64 preyed on him after he was scouted for Manchester City as a junior and the abuse began'straight away

Chris Unsworth 45 says Bennell 64 preyed on him after he was scouted for Manchester City as a junior and the abuse began'straight away

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.

Bennell, who turned 64 on Wednesday, denies 48 child sex offences against 11 complainants between 1979 and 1990.

Former footballer Chris Unsworth, 45, remembered by Bennell as "like a little teddy bear", said he was eight or nine when the man he hoped would make him a professional player scouted him for Manchester City's youth system and later took him to Crewe. "Every boy just dreamt of being a footballer, so everybody wanted to please him".

Ex-football coach Barry Bennell sexually assaulted 11 and 12-year-old boys at a property which became known as the "haunted house", a court has heard.

Following a break for lunch the alleged victim was cross-examined while sitting behind a screen, with talkRADIO reporter Alex Dibble saying there was some "definite tension" between him and the defence. You knew but you didn't say anything.

He said the abuse would begin with a game called "follow me", which the Mr Bennell would initiate. "He had a big power hold over us with that, which was pretty horrific".

He said the abuse went on until Bennell suddenly lost interest in him.

He said the abuse would take place regularly after Bennell picked him up and also when he stayed overnight at Bennell's home.

Bennell is appearing in court via video-link because of illness.

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

Mr Unsworth, who was also coached by Bennell at Crewe Alexandra, said the only times he had spoken about the details of the alleged abuse was on the Victoria Derbyshire Show, to the police and on Thursday in the courtroom.

He said: 'That was his scene, he would try and scare the lads'.

He told the court his parents were very busy and "trusted Mr Bennell to pick me up", adding that the ex-coach would give him a lift "on all occasions", taking him to matches and training.

He added: "At the time I was probably sick of getting abused as well, I'd probably had enough".

The court was read a transcript of a police interview with Bennell conducted in February 2017.

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".

Bennell has admitted seven offenses of indecent assault and the court has heard he has previously been convicted in England and the United States for child sex abuse.

He also described a "grooming process" where he would play fight with the boys and give them "treats".

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