Sheffield United star Gary Speed 'one of four men who took their lives after being coached by Barry Bennell'

Former Sheffield United boss Gary Speed was one of four men who took their own lives after being coached by Barry Bennell, a court has heard.

Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 3:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 3:30 pm
Gary Speed hanged himself in 2011

A victim whom Bennell had admitted abusing in 1998 told Liverpool Crown Court he had tried to contact the parents of Speed, who hanged himself in 2011, aged 42, to tell them about the abuse.

"Four people from teams I have played with, with Bennell, have taken their own lives," he said.

Barry Bennell (photo: PA)

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He added: "Whether they have taken their lives due to Barry solely I don't know but all I know is how it's had an impact on me and how it could impact on other people."

The victim, who cannot be named, said he wanted to get in touch with Speed's parents because he had read in the paper that they had not been able to get closure because they had no explanation for his death.

Bennell, who was previously jailed for nine years after admitting abuse, denies 48 offences of child sexual abuse against 11 complainants between 1979 and 1990.

The victim told the court he knew of former youth players who had been left 'destitute' and with alcohol problems.

Barry Bennell (photo: PA)

Asked about claiming compensation, he told the court: "I know personally, for me, it's about justice. I'm sick to death of this being part of my life and I just want to put it to bed once and for all."

He said there was an ongoing civil case against Manchester City.

Earlier on Wednesday, the court heard a complainant in the case believed Manchester City's chief scout Ken Barnes had known about the abuse.

The victim, against whom Bennell has admitted one count of indecent assault, said he played for one of the junior Manchester City teams and was abused by Bennell more than 100 times over a four-year period.

The court heard he thought Mr Barnes, who played for the club from 1950 to 1961 and died in 2010, and Mike Grimsley, who managed a Manchester City youth team, had known about the abuse carried out by Bennell.

He said: "I want an apology off Manchester City and anyone else, if possible."

Speed played 40 games for United, scoring six goals, between 2007 and 2011.

The gifted midfielder, who also appeared for Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton during a glittering playing career, took charge of the Blades for 18 games at the end of 2010, before becoming Wales manager.