Ex-coach Bennell fails in bid to reduce prison sentence

Barry Bennell

Ex-football coach Barry Bennell has lost a Court of Appeal challenge against his 30-year prison sentence.

In February, the former Crewe Alexandra youth coach was convicted of 52 counts of indecent assault against 12 boys.

Bennell's lawyer had previously argued that custody would be "more difficult" for him due to his poor health.

Lady Justice Hallett said, given the "huge scale" of his offences, "it would be wrong for the court to interfere with the sentence."

She said: "The appellant committed a vast number of sexual offences, some of them of the most serious kind.

"He preyed sexually on young boys in his care, his offending amounted to a gross abuse of the trust placed in him - by the victims themselves, by their families and by the clubs that employed him.

"The consequences for the victims and their families were appalling."

She said the sentence was not "manifestly excessive or wrong in principle".

At Bennell's sentencing, Judge Clement Goldstone described him as "the devil incarnate" and said he would serve half of the 30-year sentence in custody.

The 64-year-old, whose appeal was listed under his new name, Richard Jones, has suffered from cancer in the past and watched the appeal proceedings via video link from prison.

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