Former NI footballer: I was abused by Barry Bennell

PACEMAKER BELFAST     Mark Williams
Northern Ireland International
Position:Defender

PACEMAKER BELFAST Mark Williams Northern Ireland International Position:Defender

A former Northern Ireland footballer has released a statement claiming he was abused by convicted paedophile Barry Bennell.

Mark Williams said he “cannot just sit back and watch my former team-mates suffer alone” following a series of allegations made against Bennell, a former football coach.

Mark Williams

Mark Williams

Williams alleges he suffered abuse as a teenager when he was training at Crewe Alexandra FC.

“My life has been affected irreversibly both personally and professionally and it has been soul destroying to carry this burden for 30 years,” he said.

Williams alleges he suffered abuse as a teenager when he was training at Crewe Alexandra and Manchester City.

Manchester City has said it is aware of Williams’ allegations, and announced last week that it is investigating any links between the club and Bennell.

In his statement, Williams said: “My life has been affected irreversibly both personally and professionally and it has been soul destroying to carry this burden for 30 years.

“I have felt chained down by fear of speaking out against Barry Bennell.”

He added: “Barry Bennell’s systemic abuse has affected a whole generation of young footballers. No child should ever have to suffer as we and many others have,” he added.

A number of former footballers have come forward in the last week to reveal they were abused by Bennell, who last weekend was admitted to hospital after he was found unconscious.