Paedophile football coach Barry Bennell 'taken to hospital after being found unconscious'

Mr Bennell was reportedly found unconscious and not breathing at the Novotel Hotel in Stevenage

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Barry Bennell is believed to be in hospital after police were called to his hotel on Friday night following reports of a “fear for welfare incident”.

Thames Valley Police said they had been called to an address in Knebworth Park, Stevenage just before 11pm on Friday.

“A 62-year-old man was located and was taken to hospital to receive medical treatment, where he remains,” said a police force spokesperson.

The convicted paedophile was reportedly found unconscious and not breathing at the Novotel Hotel, according to local newspaper The Comet.

The police refused to confirm or deny whether Mr Bennell was involved or give details of the nature of the incident.

Mr Bennell worked for Crewe, Leeds United, Manchester City and Stoke City football clubs from the 1970s onwards. In 1994, he was given a four-year sentence for raping a British boy on a football tour of Florida.

In 1998, Mr Bennell was sentenced to nine years in prison for 23 charges of sexual abuse against six boys.

And he was jailed a third time in 2015 after pleading guilty to abusing a boy at a football camp in Macclesfield in 1980.

Following former professional footballer Andy Woodward coming forward to talk of his alleged abuse at the hands of Bennell, a string of fellow footballers have discussed their own alleged abuse.

Former Manchester City youth football player Jason Dunford, who said Bennell attempted to touch in him at a Butlins holiday camp, said the scandal was bigger than that surrounding Jimmy Savile.

He told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “I believe there was a conspiracy and paedophile ring.

“I think Savile looks like a choirboy compared to this fella.

“There were people at those clubs who had a duty to look after boys coming through their system.”

Chris Unsworth, 44, a former Crewe youth player, has also made allegations against Bennell and accused the club of turning a blind eye, telling Victoria Derbyshire it was “swept under the carpet”.

Former England and Manchester City players David White and Paul Stewart and former Crewe Alexandra player Steve Walters have also spoken out about being sexually abused by football coaches.