A pedophile victim, Barry Bennell, is taking legal action against the previous owners of Butlin’s after the soccer coach tended to him while working at a holiday park.
David Lean, 53, met Crewe Alexandra’s former coach while visiting the company’s resort in Pwllheli, northwest Wales, in 1979.
Mr. Lean, who was 11 at the time, attended Bennell’s daily soccer school during his week long vacation and was persuaded to give him his home address so he could keep in touch and check his soccer progress.
Bennell, now 67 years old and serving a 34-year prison sentence after being convicted of sex offenses against boys, retrained Mr. Lean when his family returned for a second vacation this year, awarding the boy the award ” Boy of the Week ”. .
He later invited Mr. Lean to take a soccer class in Macclesfield and stay at his home – where he sexually abused him.
Mr. Lean said, “I would never have come in contact with Bennell if he hadn’t worked at Butlin’s – it’s that simple.
“Back then, the Redcoats and the staff were really respected – and Bennell was no different. He was seen as trustworthy and he used that to take care of me.
“I had never stayed away from home with anyone – with the exception of a friend or two – my father trusted Bennell so much.
“He carried us away and made me believe that he saw something in me and that I have professional prospects for football. It got into mine and my father’s head.
“We would never have gone on two vacations a year – but because of that first trip and the letters Bennell exchanged with me, we went back to where he had his chance to continue to care for me.”
Mr Lean reported the abuse to police in 2013, and Bennell was sentenced to two years in prison in 2015.
More than 100 victims are said to have been accused of being abused by the former soccer scout.
The Abuse Director at Slater and Gordon Kim Harrison said she is following the civil case on the basis that Butlin’s is vicariously liable for the sexual abuse, given that Bennell was employed during the time Mr. Lean was being cared for and targeted by him was.
She said, “We have now formalized proceedings in the High Court and will be conducting this case through the channels necessary to compensate my client in any way for the abuse he suffered as a young and vulnerable child by Bennell.
“The impact of this abuse on my client is difficult to put into words, but his courage to report to the police first and continue to fight for justice should be commended.”
At the time Bennell was working there, Butlin’s was owned by the Rank Group, which sold the holiday parks in 2011.
A Rank Group spokeswoman said they did not want to comment.
Legal action is being taken against Hard Rock Cafe (Edinburgh) Limited, which was known as Butlins Limited until it was renamed in 2000. Hard Rock Cafe was asked for comment.