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Sexual Abuse Survivor Speaks Of ‘Relief’ As Former Football Coach Found Guilty

Barry Bennell Has Been Found Guilty Of Sexual Assault


James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

A man who was abused by Barry Bennell when he played youth football for Manchester City, has spoken of his relief at seeing his attacker found guilty.

The 64-year-old was found guilty to the offences of sexual assault against a boy under 14, which were committed between 1981 and 1985, at Liverpool Crown Court today.

Gary Cliffe, who has waived his right to anonymity to help raise awareness of the abuse issues many have faced in sports teams, says he is now determined to move on with his life with the support of expert abuse lawyers at Irwin Mitchell. 

The legal team is helping several former footballers and other sportspeople to access the help and support they need after they were abused while in a vulnerable position.

Gary commented: “The abuse I suffered when I was younger has had an enormous effect on my life. 

“I’m relieved that Bennell has been found guilty, and held accountable for his actions, however nothing will ever take back what he has done to me, and the others he has abused. 

“I struggled to come to terms with what happened to me throughout my life, but all I feel now is relief and I’m looking forward to moving on with my life as I try and put this behind me.”

Christopher Hurlston, an expert abuse lawyer representing Gary, the ex-youth footballer, said: 

Expert Opinion
“Many people who suffer sexual abuse as a child are affected by the ordeal for the rest of their lives and their experiences can have a significant impact on how they choose to live their lives.

“We have heard from many people who have been abused by their sports coaches or managers while they were vulnerable individuals trying to fit in or impress or simply in awe of people in power. These people, like Barry Bennell, have taken advantage of their position of power and trust over young people.

“Abuse survivors often suffer in silence and Gary has been extremely courageous to speak out about the abuse he suffered, to ensure that his abuser was brought to justice. We hope this courage will see further footballers and other sportspeople who have been abused as a child by their coaches or managers to share their stories to raise awareness that these traumatic incidents can happen behind the closed doors of the sporting industry.”
Chris Hurlston, Associate Solicitor