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Former Crewe coach Bennell denies abuse charges


London (AFP) – Former football coach Barry Bennell told an English court on Monday he denied committing eight child abuse offences on one boy.

Bennell, 63, appearing via video-link from Woodhill Prison in a hearing held at Chester Crown Court, northwest England, answered “not guilty” to all the charges put before him.

The former Crewe Alexandra coach denies seven counts of indecent assault on a boy and one count of attempted buggery.

All the offences are said to have happened between 1981 and 1986, when the alleged victim was under the age of 16.

Bennell, who appeared wearing a blue polo neck shirt, was remanded in custody until March when a further hearing is expected to take place.

Prosecutor Owen Edwards told a court featuring some 30 members of the media: “I have had an opportunity to speak to the complainant; at the moment he preserves his anonymity.”

As a result, it remains an offence for either the press or public to identify the complainant and Judge Roger Dutton warned that any revelations in this regard “will be treated very seriously” by the courts.

Bennell worked as a coach for Crewe Alexandra, now in the fourth-tier of English football, as well as Premier League Manchester City and Stoke City, together with junior teams, during his football career. 

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