Hamilton Smith, no evidence to corroborate his claims
One of the key figures in the recent football child sexual abuse scandal is Hamilton Smith, a former director of Crewe Alexandra who made very public claims that he told officials at Crewe Alexandra that Barry Bennell was abusing children.
To this day, no evidence has been uncovered to support Smith’s claims. Three police investigations have found that Crewe Alexandra, John Bowler and Dario Gradi, (two of the people Smith has named in his claims) had no knowledge of the despicable crimes Bennell carried out.
Crewe Alexandra statement
On Friday 3rd March, Crewe Alexandra released a statement regarding Barry Bennell. You can read the full statement here.
Key points from the statement are as follows:
- No evidence has been found by Cheshire Police or Crewe Alexandra to corroborate the Smith claim.
A Cheshire Police investigation concluded that the club and officials, including John Bowler and Dario Gradi had no knowledge of the activities of Bennell.
The club provided Cheshire Police with documentation including contemporaneous boardroom minutes.
The club provided Cheshire Police with a names of individuals who wished to be interviewed.
The club assisted Cheshire Police to identify individuals who were at the club at the time Bennell was employed.
Cheshire Police determined that Barry Bennell was dismissed from the club for footballing matters.
All the evidence collected during this investigation has been forward to the FA Independent Review in Child Sexual Abuse in Football.
Why did smith nominate John Bowler for the role of Chairman in 1988 and 1989 after he claims he told Bowler of the allegations against Bennell?
The Hamilton Smith claims
Hamilton Smith was a director of Crewe Alexandra from 1987 until 1990.
The claim from Smith is that having received a complaint of abuse by Barry Bennell he reported that allegation to the club and specifically to John Bowler.
Key points regarding the Smith claims:
Cheshire Police found no evidence to corroborate the claims by Hamilton Smith
Smith was interviewed by Cheshire Police in the period between 1987 and 1990, they found no evidence to corroborate the Smith claim.
The minutes from boardroom meetings show no evidence to support the claim by Smith.
Smith failed to report the claims of abuse to Cheshire Police at the time he alleged the abuse was taking place.
Smith did not report the allegation to the Football Association for 13 years.
Bennell had already been convicted of several offences before Smith contacted the Football Association.
Smith was specifically interviewed by Cheshire Police in regards to his claims regarding Crewe Alexandra. Cheshire Police found no evidence to support or corroborate Smith and his claims.
Questions for Hamilton Smith
There is one rather obvious question that Smith should answer.
Why, if he knew children were being abused did he not contact the police at the time. Smith shared the same responsibility he claims others had to tackle the abuse by Bennell. Three police investigations so far have failed to show Smith raised his concerns with anyone.
For many, the idea that he knew children were being abused yet didn’t raise the issue with the police is hugely disturbing. Even more shocking are his appearances in the media, criticising others for not doing enough to put a stop to Bennell and his horrific crimes when he himself appears to have done very little.
Why did Smith only raise his concern after Bennell was convicted? Why didn’t Smith contact the Police, it seems extremely hypocritical to call out others for not doing the same when he himself failed in his duty.
Smith claims he told John Bowler of the allegations against Bennell in early 1988 and claims Bowler and the club did not act on his claims.
Why then would you subsequently nominate Mr Bowler for the position of Chairman?
Smith has said that John Bowler failed in his duty yet saw fit to nominate him for the role of Chairman. Why would you do that, it simply isn’t credible.
The media have a responsibility to question Smith
The BBC in particular have given lots of airtime to Smith. He has been allowed to make his claims almost unchallenged; not once have I seen him have to answer the question, “So given what you claim you knew, why didn’t you go to the police?”.
The BBC have failed to challenge Smith and his claims. This is just one example of poor journalism regarding the Bennell abuse coverage.
Given what we know now will the BBC question Smith as to why he didn’t go to the police?
Myself and many others are not holding our breath.