LIVERPOOL: Barry Bennell, the former coach who preyed on aspiring young footballers, has been jailed for 31 years after being found guilty of 43 charges of child sexual abuse.

Delivering sentence, at Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Clement Goldstone described Bennell as “sheer evil” and “the devil incarnate.”

A further 86 people have registered complaints against the former Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra youth team coach as a result of publicity from the arrest and trial.

Bennell had followed the trial from prison via videolink for health reasons and declined to give evidence in his own defence. However he was brought to court for the sentencing which was attended by some of his vctims and their families.

The 64-year-old, who had previously received three jail sentences for similar offences, had been described during the trial as a “child molester on an industrial scale” who would not just groom his victims, but also their families.

Victims who had been coached by Bennell as boys told how he had a “power hold” over them as they dreamed of becoming professional footballers. He was said to have been treated like “God” at Manchester City’s Maine Road ground.

He abused the boys at his homes, where he had arcade games and exotic pets including a puma and a monkey, but also on trips away and in his car while on the way to and from training.