Victim of paedophile coach Barry Bennell, 67, secures payout

Barry Bennell victim wins ‘significant five-figure’ damages from ex-owner of Butlins after he was abused by the paedophile football coach at one of their camps in North Wales when he was 11

  • David Lean, 53, has secured a five-figure payout from former owners of Butlins 
  • Mr Lean was sexually abused by paedophile coach Barry Bennell, 67, in 1979
  • The abuse took place after a stay at Butlins’ resort in Pwllheli, north-west Wales
  • Bennell was jailed two years in 2015 for abusing Mr Lean, before the civil claim
  • He is currently serving a 34-year jail term over dozens of counts of abuse 

A victim of paedophile football coach Barry Bennell has secured a five-figure settlement from the former owners of Butlin’s after he was groomed while Bennell worked at a holiday park.

David Lean, 53, first encountered the child predator when he visited the company’s resort in Pwllheli, north-west Wales, in 1979.

Mr Lean, who was 11 at the time, said Bennell ‘worked his charm’ on him and his father, so after a week-long holiday they exchanged addresses, became pen pals and returned for another trip later in the year.

Bennell, 67, who is now serving a 34-year prison sentence after being convicted of dozens of sexual offences against young boys, went on to invite Mr Lean to stay at his home for two nights to attend an FA-endorsed training session.

While staying at his house, Mr Lean was sexually abused by the coach.

David Lean, 53, has secured a five-figure settlement from the former owners of Butlin’s after he was groomed by paedophile Barry Bennell in 1979

Notorious paedophile Barry Bennell (pictured) has been convicted on five occasions over dozens of counts of sexual abuse against young boys while working as a football coach between the 1970s and 1990s

Bennell was jailed two years in 2015 for abusing Mr Lean but a civil case was brought on the victim’s behalf by law firm Slater and Gordon against Hard Rock Cafe (Edinburgh) Limited, formerly known as Butlin’s Limited, which alleged the company was vicariously responsible for the abuse.

Mr Lean said: ‘I have fought for many years to seek justice for what happened to me as a child by that monster.

‘It also became extremely important to me to ensure that all those who had a part to play in making it possible for Bennell to perpetrate his abuse on young boys should also be held to account.

‘Lessons must be learnt to prevent the abuse of further generations; nobody should have the right to turn a blind eye and not face the consequences.

‘While my sexual abuse never took place at Butlin’s, they gave my abuser the gateway to groom both myself and my parents into later access of me when I was abused. ‘

Bennell’s abuse went on for two decades until a boy accused him of sexual assault in 1994 

Kim Harrison, lead lawyer for Mr Lean, said she was ‘delighted’ to have secured a five-figure settlement for him.

She said: ‘Barry Bennell was a prolific paedophile who used his position at Butlin’s to groom and then go on to abuse our client.’  

Rank Group, owners of Hard Rock Cafe (Edinburgh) Ltd, have been approached for comment.

Bennell took advantage of his role as a football coach to abuse young boys from the 1970s onwards. After spells working for Manchester City, Crewe, Stoke City and Leeds United, he joined Staffordshire team Stone Dominoes as head coach in 1992.

It was while at the Stone Dominoes that Bennell’s offending first came to public attention, when a 13-year-old player accused him of sexual abuse during a United States tour in 1994. 

Bennell was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida, and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to six charges of sexual battery and lewd and lascivious behaviour.

Bennell did not serve his full sentence, but he was immediately arrested upon his return to England following sexual abuse revelations made in a 1996 Dispatches documentary. 

He was charged a string of sexual assaults and counts of buggery against boys aged nine to 15. It led to a trial at Chester Crown Court in 1998, where Bennell was convicted of 23 offences against six boys and received a nine-year jail sentence.

Pictured: Barry Bennell in an American court in 1995, where he pleaded guilty to six sexual battery charges 

Some 22 other charges were left on file, as the CPS opted not to put victims through the trauma of giving evidence at a trial. 

But Bennell’s story did not end there. In 2015, by then living in Milton Keynes and calling himself Richard Jones, he was arrested again for his abuse of Mr Lean and given a two year sentence.

in 2016 and 2017, more historic offences against young boys came to light – culminating in a trial at Liverpool Crown Court in January 2018. 

From the outset, Bennell pleaded guilty to seven charges against young boys between 1981 and 1985, but a jury found him guilty of 43 further offences.  On February 19, 2018, he was jailed for 31 years for all 50 offences against young boys, expected to serve half in prison and half on licence.

Pictured: Bennell while he was a football coach in 1980s, during the peak of his offending

Eight men, all in the 40s and 50s, launched a civil claim in October against Manchester City after saying Bennell abused them

But even then, more evidence of Bennell’s prolific sexual abuse against young boys continued to emerge. 

In July 2020, Bennell pleaded guilty at Chester Crown Court to nine further offences committed between 1979 and 1988 and was sentenced to an additional four years – bringing his total sentence to 34 years.

In October last year, it was revealed that eight men, now in their 40s and 50s, were taking legal action against Manchester City while claiming Bennell abused them when they were playing youth football more than 30 years ago. Manchester City denied Bennell was an employee at the time of the alleged abuse.


Decades of abuse before he was finally brought to justice: Timeline of the Barry Bennell case 

Early 1970s: Starts his coaching career aged about 18 at renowned London-based junior club Senrab FC, Bennell told police.

Mid to late 1970s: Coaches at Butlin’s holiday camp in Pwllheli, North Wales, and also begins working with Manchester youth team Whitehill FC, he also tells detectives.

November 1979 to July 1981: Employed as a resident social worker at the now closed Taxal Edge children’s home in Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire.

1982 to 1985: Coaches youth teams in Derbyshire which provided several youth recruits for Manchester City.

1985 to 1992: Bennell is employed by or on behalf of Crewe Alexandra apart from a spell coaching in Georgia, United States, in 1989 and 1990.

1990: Marries Linda Woodward, sister of one of his abuse victims, Andy Woodward. The couple go on to have two children.

1992 to 1994: Bennell is employed by or on behalf of Stoke City.

1994: He is arrested while on a 10-week tour of the United States when coaching a Staffordshire youth team.

1995: He is convicted in Florida of four counts of indecent assault on a young boy and sentenced to four years in jail. Spends time in custody prior to his conviction. His victim was also abused by Bennell in Britain, which leads to a domestic investigation.

January 1997: Bennell is featured in the Channel 4 documentary series Dispatches. Former youth player Ian Ackley waives his anonymity and tells the Soccer’s Foul Play programme he was sexually abused by Bennell.

September 1997: US authorities deport Bennell to the UK at the conclusion of his sentence and on his arrival he is charged with sexual offences relating to a number of complainants.

June 1998: He pleads guilty at Chester Crown Court on the first day of his scheduled trial to 23 counts of sexual abuse relating to 15 complainants, aged from nine to 14, between 1978 and 1992. Victims include Mr Ackley and Mr Woodward. Twenty-two alleged offences are left to lie on file. He is sentenced to nine years in prison.

May 2015: Bennell pleads guilty at the same court on the first day of his scheduled trial to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in 1980. He is jailed for two years. His victim did not come forward in 1997 because of the effect he said it would have on his mother. When she died in 2013 he contacted police. The court hears he was abused at Bennell’s living quarters at Taxal Edge while staying with him as he took part in coaching sessions in Macclesfield.

November 2016: Mr Woodward waives his anonymity to give emotional, powerful interviews to the Guardian and BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. It leads to a number of complainants against Bennell contacting police and a fresh investigation begins.

January 2018: Bennell goes on trial at Liverpool Crown Court accused of 48 historical child sex offences against 11 complainants between 1979 and 1990.

February 2018: Bennell is jailed for 30 years at Liverpool Crown Court after being convicted of 52 child sexual offences against 12 boys in 2018.

July 2020: Bennell admits nine more sex offences – three counts of buggery and six counts of indecent assault in relation to two complainants between 1979 and 1988 who were aged between 11 and 14 at the time.

October 2020 : Bennell is sentenced at Chester Crown Court to four years in prison, in addition to the 30-year sentence he is already serving, for nine sexual offences against two boys.


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