Central figure in UK soccer child sex abuse scandal, Barry Bennell, dies in prison at age 69

An English coach at the center of a notorious child sex abuse scandal in professional soccer has died in prison, the British government’s justice department said Monday.

Barry Bennell, who had worked as a scout for Manchester City and a coach at Crewe Alexandra, was serving a 34-year jail term for multiple convictions of offenses committed since the 1970s. He was 69.

Judges at his trials in England had described Bennell as the “devil incarnate” and “a parent’s worst nightmare.”

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The Ministry of Justice said Bennell died Saturday in Littlehey prison and “as with all deaths in custody, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will investigate.”

When Bennell was sentenced most recently in 2020, the court was told he had a detached retina after being attacked in prison and was in remission from cancer.

Bennell was first jailed in Florida in 1994 for raping a British boy on a soccer tour. He also was sentenced to prison in Britain in 1998, 2015, 2018 and 2020.

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