Paedophile ex-football coach Barry Bennell to give evidence at High Court trial

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Lawyers are preparing to question paedophile former football coach Barry Bennell about his involvement with Manchester City four decades ago at a High Court trial.

Bennell, who is in jail after being convicted of child sex offences, is due to give evidence to a judge overseeing the trial on Tuesday, after eight men made damages claims against the football club.

Mr Justice Johnson began overseeing the trial, at the High Court in London, in late October.

A judge is overseeing a trial at the High court after eight men made damages claims against Manchester City (Nick Ansell?PA)

The eight men, who are now in their 40s and 50s, say Bennell, now 67, abused them when they were playing schoolboy football for teams he coached in the North West of England between 1979 and 1985.

They claim that Bennell, who became a coach at Crewe in 1985, was a scout for City during that time and argue that the relationship between Bennell and City was “one of employment or one akin to employment”.

City bosses deny that claim.

They say Bennell had been a local City scout in the mid-1970s but was not a City scout between 1979 and 1985.

Lawyers representing the men finished calling evidence on Wednesday, and lawyers representing City are scheduled to begin calling evidence on Tuesday.

Eight men have made damages claims against Manchester City football club (Mike Egerton/PA)

Bennell is expected to be the first witness called by lawyers representing City.

He is expected to give evidence from prison via video-link.

Mr Justice Johnson has heard that Bennell, who used to live near Buxton, Derbyshire, had abused schoolboy footballers after inviting them to stay at his home.

The eight men are claiming damages after suffering psychiatric injuries.

Six are also claiming damages for loss of potential football earnings.

Mr Justice Johnson has been told that Bennell is serving a 34-year sentence after being convicted of sexual offences against boys on five separate occasions – four in the UK and one in the US – and is being held at HMP Littlehey, near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

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