UK

Barry Bennell: Alleged victim says he suffered PTSD

Court sketch of Barry Bennell appearing via videolink Image copyright Julia Quenzler.

A man who claims he was abused by former youth football coach Barry Bennell said he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The alleged victim told Liverpool Crown Court he stayed at Mr Bennell's house during school holidays, when he played as a schoolboy for Crewe Alexandra.

He said since reporting the allegations to police he has experienced "violent nightmares" about 64-year-old Bennell.

Mr Bennell denies offences against 11 complainants between 1979 and 1990.

He said that there were three separate incidents involving Mr Bennell.

But he said fellow youth footballers later told him he might have also been abused in his sleep.

He said his peers witnessed Mr Bennell touching him while he was sleeping on the sofa.

Bunk bed 'incidents'

The man said Mr Bennell, now known as Richard Jones, first touched him when he was sitting next to him on the sofa watching Nightmare on Elm Street.

He added that when he flinched, Mr Bennell stopped touching him and began watching the film again.

He described two further incidents in a bunk bed. He told the court the coach left the room after he kicked out and tried to move away from him.

He decided to go to the police after seeing media coverage of other former youth players alleging abuse by Mr Bennell in 2016.

He told the court: "I feel guilty because I never said anything.

"I now know the level of abuse that some of the others would have gone through for sustained periods and if I said something, and I know everyone else probably feels the same, but if I had said something maybe that could have stopped."

He said he was approached by police in the 1990s, but denied having been abused by Mr Bennell.

"I didn't want to open the box in my head, I just wanted to forget about it," he said.

Defending counsel Eleanor Laws QC said: "I suggest to you, you rather got swept up in these allegations and that what you have said Barry Bennell did to you is not the truth."

He replied: "I totally disagree."

Mr Bennell denies 35 counts of indecent assault, 11 serious sexual assaults and two counts of attempted sexual assault, on boys aged between eight and 14.

The trial continues.

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