Former footballer Andy Woodward, who brought the story to national attention in 2015.
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Where is abuser Barry Bennell now and what happened to Andy Woodward?

Football's Darkest Secret is an extraordinary documentary

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A BBC One documentary re-examines the horrifying crimes of serial sex offender and paedophile Barry Bennell, but where is Barry Bennell now?

Who did he abuse? And what was he found guilty of?

Former football coach Barry sexually assaulted multiple young boys under his care.

In this landmark three-part series, the BBC examines the historic child abuse which took place in youth football.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Guardian journalist Daniel Taylor, who first broke Andy Woodward’s story in 2015 (Credit: BBC One / Hugh Davies)
Guardian journalist Daniel Taylor first broke Andy Woodward’s story in 2015 (Credit: BBC One / Hugh Davies)

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Who is Andy Woodward and what happened to him?

Andy Woodward, now 47, is a former professional footballer.

He was one of the first to speak up about the abuse he suffered from the age of 11 by coach Barry Bennell.

Andy was a victim of repeated sexual abuse while a trainee at Crewe Alexandra in the 1980s.

In November 2016, Andy finally came forward with evidence against youth coach Barry Bennell.

His decision to waive his anonymity gave others the courage to come forward.

In the storm that followed, more than 800 victims came forward – with 340 football clubs implicated and 300 suspects identified.

Andy admits he regularly had to fake injuries during games due to panic attacks.

What has Andy said about abuse?

Andy has been suicidal “on probably 10 occasions” and has spent his professional life battling depression and anxiety.

He says: “It’s a dirty secret, deep inside you. It’s like a stutter, but it’s like even if you want to say it, there’s something in your mind that stops you.”

In a previous interview with the Guardian, Andy says: “It was either threats of violence or he’d use football to manipulate control.

“If I upset him in any way, he’d drop me from the team.”

In an awful twist of fate, Barry Bennell MARRIED Andy’s sister.

Andy describes seeing his sister marry his abuser as “torture”.

Andy went on to become a police officer and has written a book about his experience of sexual abuse.

Journalist Victoria Derbyshire interviewed Andy Woodward in 2015 (Credit: BBC One)
Journalist Victoria Derbyshire interviewed Andy Woodward in 2015 (Credit: BBC One)

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Who else did Barry Bennell abuse?

Over 800 people came forward accusing Barry of molesting them.

Former England player Paul Stewart says: “I had some highs in my career.

“But I never enjoyed them because I had this empty soul, I was dying inside.”

Manchester City player David White admits: “The reason I couldn’t tell anybody else was for fear of my dad finding out.”

After the guilty verdicts, victims Andy Woodward, Micky Fallon, Chris Unsworth and Steve Walters read statements outside Liverpool Crown Court.

Investigative journalist Deborah Davies broke the story in 1997 on Channel 4’s Dispatches.

She says: “Football largely ignored it in the hope it went away. And, guess what? It went away.”

Did Barry Bennell abuse Gary Speed?

Welsh professional footballer and manager Gary Speed took his own life on November 26 2011.

Barry Bennell coached Gary as a boy.

After Barry’s conviction, an anonymous victim told Al Jazeera that he had witnessed Gary Speed being abused.

However, police interviewed Gary twice during earlier investigations and he said he was never harmed by Barry.

The inquest into Speed’s death found no links.

Mr Bennell’s trial heard that Gary was one of four players coached by him who went on to take their own lives.

Barry Bennell paedophile football coach in hospital after being found unconscious
Paedophile former football coach Barry Bennell (Credit: BBC One / YouTube)

Who is Barry Bennell?

Former Chelsea youth player Barry Bennell was employed by Crewe Alexandra Football Club in the 1980s and 1990s.

He had close associations with Manchester City and Stoke City.

But he was also a predatory paedophile.

He abused parents’ trust and molested dozens of child victims in Britain and the US from the 1970s to the early 1990s.

Some victims, who dreamed of making it as pro footballers, were abused up to 100 times.

Where is Barry Bennell now?

Mr Bennell, now 67, has been convicted of sexual abuse against 22 boys and is currently serving a 34 year prison sentence.

He will most likely die in jail.

His first conviction was in Florida in 1994 for the rape of a British boy.

He was later sentenced to nine years in prison in 1998.

He admitted 23 specimen charges of sexual offences against six boys aged nine to 15.

Barry Bennell was jailed for a further two years in May 2015 for another historic case involving a 12-year-old boy in Macclesfield.

A judge branded Barry “the devil incarnate” for abusing young boys on an “industrial scale”.

Football’s Darkest Secrets on BBC One

Heartbreaking testimony from Andy Woodward and other former youth players who suffered shocking abuse at the hands of Barry Bennell.

The three-part series explores the historic child abuse that took place in youth football in England from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Directed by BAFTA-winner Daniel Gordon, the docu-series also examines the code of silence surrounding the abuse.

The first episode focuses on former footballer Andy Woodward’s 2016 revelation of abuse at the hands of the youth coach.

Football’s Darkest Secret begins in Monday March 22 2021 at 9pm on BBC One. All three episodes will be available to watch on iPlayer afterwards.

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