FORMER Cheshire football coach Barry Bennell has appeared in court today (Monday, May 18), charged with nine sex offences.

Bennell, aka Richard Jones, 66, appeared via videolink at Warrington Magistrates Court from HMP Littlehey, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed.

He has been charged with one count of serious sexual assault and six counts of indecent assault in relation to one complainant, and two counts of serious sexual assault against a second complainant. Neither complainant can be identified for legal reasons.

Geoff Fryar, head of the Complex Casework Unit of CPS Mersey Cheshire, said: “The CPS made the decision to charge Mr Bennell, a former football coach, after reviewing a file of evidence from Cheshire Police relating to allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse.

“The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Barry Bennell are now active and he has a right to a fair trial.

"It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

So far, Bennell has not entered a plea to the charges, and a date for a future plea and trial preparation hearing has not yet been set.