Thursday, 22 August 2013

Detention centre paedophile ring inquiry: 'Net closing' as new witness gives police key evidence

The brave victim is one of 20 former inmates who have contacted detectives to help expose the abusers, after appeals in the Mirror

Monster: Prison officer Neville Husband
Monster: Prison officer Neville Husband

North News & Pictures
A new witness has given police key evidence to support claims of a borstal paedophile ring suspected of raping hundreds of boys.
The brave victim is one of 20 former inmates of the Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham who have contacted detectives to help expose the abusers, after appeals in the Mirror.
Police refused to acknowledge claims of a paedophile ring after prison officer Neville Husband and another man were jailed for the mass rape of boys.
But speaking last night, the witness – who wishes to remain anonymous – said: “I’ve spoken to police after seeing the stories about other victims.
"Until then I thought I was the only one. I was sexually abused at Medomsley, and it was not by Neville Husband.
“He’d left by the time I’d arrived. That place was a living hell.”
Campaigning MP Michael McCann said: “The net is closing. I hope those involved are having sleepless nights.”
The witness told how the borstal was separated into dorms with bunk beds and prison guards entered the rooms at night to abuse boys.
His evidence could even confirm a police cover-up which fooled other officers and prosecutors and led to a continuation of the abuse.
He said: “You wouldn’t be able to sleep. You’d stare at the door all night, praying it wouldn’t open. They’d come in and abuse boys. Everyone lived in fear that if you spoke up they’d target you. Every day I got punched and kicked by guards.
“But there was one in particular. A real bully. He would pin me up against the wall and fondle me.
“He’s the one I’d remember. The police have photographs of them all and I’m confident I’ll be able to pick him out.”
The victim left Medomsley but never reported it to police – and until recent coverage in the Mirror, he thought he was the only lad abused there.
He tried to commit suicide several times, even throwing himself into a river only to be dragged out by police.
He said: “My life fell apart. Whoever I was died in that place, and someone different came out. But now I realise I wasn’t alone. And that is some comfort.”
Durham Police have now gathered photographs of every serving prison officer at Medomsley throughout the 70s and 80s, when hundreds were raped and sexually abused.
Detectives plan to sit the new witness in front of a photobank where he will be able to pick out the members of the paedophile ring.

John McCabe from East Kilbride
Brave: Victim John McCabe, right, with MP Michael McCann

Stuart Nicol
The investigation was reopened after victim John McCabe, from East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, persisted with his claims that Husband and another man, storeman Leslie Johnson, were not acting alone.
Police now fear a ring of up to four prison officers were involved – as well as attackers from outside the jail.
Some boys were taken off prison premises to be sexually abused at a location which the CPS has asked the Mirror not to disclose.
The witness, now married and in his 40s, was at Medomsley from October 1985.
Husband had left the borstal the year before and was transferred to another prison after being promoted.
Following his arrival, the new prison received allegations of sex abuse.
During his 2003 trial, Newcastle crown court heard Husband – who became a minister in the United Reformed Church after 27 years in the prison service – had used his position of authority to systematically abuse victims between 1974 and 1984.
The male inmates, aged between 16 and 19, had been picked by Husband to work in the kitchens.
He was jailed for sexual abuse along with storeman Leslie Johnson in 2003. Both men are now dead.
Police believe there were hundreds more who fell prey to the paedophile ring. The hunt is now on to catch the abusers who have evaded justice for more than 20 years.
Medomsley closed in the late 1980s after the abuse came to light and has reopened as a secure training centre.
A source close to the investigation said: “The police now have a dedicated Medomsley team looking into those who suffered sexual abuse and those who suffered other violent attacks.”

'This evidence could be a major breakthrough'

Labour MP Michael McCann campaigned for a police probe into Medomsley after victim John McCabe told him of the horrors.
And he is convinced the latest evidence is vital. He said: “This could be a major breakthrough.
"As well as the information that the Daily Mirror has uncovered the police have also been contacted by other victims.”
Mr McCabe, who has waived his right to anonymity, said: “It only goes to show it wasn’t just Neville Husband involved.
"This man’s story and evidence is going to confirm that even when Husband had left that more prison officers were still abusing.
“It opens up a new era regarding the investigation. When you take out Husband and Johnson from the picture, then it makes the abuse even wider.
“It just goes to show there was a paedophile ring. These men should be tracked down, caught and put into prison.
"They must be held accountable and prosecuted, it doesn’t matter what age they are. Even if they are really old.”
Call Durham Police on 101, or the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000, or with information.

Source Daily Mirror

More Sources

Dozens respond to police appeal in Durham child sex abuse cas

 The Guardian,
Medomsley detention centre
Medomsley detention centre is at the centre of a re-investigation into child sex abuse allegations. Photograph: BBC
More than 40 alleged victims of child sex abuse at a detention centre for teenage boys in north-east England have come forward in response to a police appeal, as part of a new investigation into serial abuse at the centre during the 1970s and 80s.
Detectives from Durham received the calls within less than a week of asking for victims to come forward, following an investigation by the Guardian revealing that a prison officer at Medomsley detention centre may have abused hundreds of boys during a 17-year spell when he was in charge of the kitchens at the centre.
The investigation will examine claims that the police covered up complaints of abuse made by victims after they were released from detention. Durham police appealed for victims who had not come forward previously to do so now.
Previous investigations carried out by police in 2002 and 2005 resulted in two men being jailed for crimes committed at the centre, near Consett.
Neville Husband, the main perpetrator, abused boys on a daily basis. He was eventually jailed for 10 years and left prison in 2009. He died the following year. Leslie Johnson, a storeman at Medomsley, was jailed for six years and also died after being discharged from prison.
The new investigation will examine claims that Husband and Johnson were part of a ring which abused detainees, at Medomsley and other locations. Police will also look at allegations that staff turned a blind eye to Husband's abuse.
Last Wednesday, Det Supt Paul Goudray, head of Durham police safeguarding unit said: "This investigation will put victims at the heart of the enquiry, but at the same time we would like to hear from anyone who has new information about Medomsley and the abuse that occurred both inside, and when inmates were taken off-site."
Over a dozen men telephoned police in the first two days after that announcement.
A spokesman for Durham police said on Wednesday a further 30 men had contacted them and that the information was being assessed by investigators.
The Guardian revealed Husband converted a kitchen storeroom into a bedroom, where sex aids were later found. The paper also learned staff were forbidden to search the kitchen area. At Husband's trial, one officer said: " We knew something was going on, he – Husband – used to keep a boy behind in the kitchen at night, we always felt sorry for that boy." In 1969, while working at Portland borstal, Dorset, Husband was arrested and charged with importing pornography. The material seized and which he admitted showing to boys in his charge – included sado-masochistic images of teenage boys.
The charges were dropped after Husband claimed to be conducting research into homosexuality. Details of that arrest were written across the top of his employment record and went with him throughout his career.
Dr Eli Godsi, a former senior psychologist for the Home Office, described Husband's sexual abuse as one of the worst cases he had come across in "17 years of working with some of the most prolific sex offenders in the country".
Following the Guardian report, another victim, John McCabe, contacted the paper and said he had been abused by Husband, both on and off the premises at Medomsley. He said he had been raped by another man at a location Husband had taken him to.

Source The Guardian

MP calls for justice for borstal rape victim

Aug 21 2013 by Andrea O'Neill, East Kilbride News
MP Michael McCann is campaigning for justice for an East Kilbride man who was raped in a borstal when he was a teenager.
John McCabe suffered six months of horrific sex abuse at the hands of prison officer Neville Husband when he was a 17-year-old inmate.
Police last week launched an investigation into an alleged cover-up at notorious English borstal Medomsley Detention Centre.
Husband is believed to have been part of a prison paedophile ring.
The shocking case was re-opened thanks to the brave testimony of 49-year-old John and the help of his old school friend, East Kilbride MP Michael McCann.
Michael, who was a classmate of John’s at St Bride’s High School in the 1970s, said: “He (John) got into trouble with the authorities when he was young and he has paid a gruesome price.
“I knew it would be tough to restart an investigation when the events took place so long ago and the person who appears to have been the main protagonist is dead but people that commit crimes must face justice.
“I have been working hard to convince the police to look into this case. I am pleased that the case has been re-opened and John and I want to support the Durham Police investigation fully.
“We have been working behind the scenes for several months discussing how best to make an appeal for information about abuse that took place either inside or outside Medomsley Detention Centre.
“I am pleased to say that the police have received a number of calls in relation to the investigation.
“We know that young men attempted to report abuse 30 years ago but they were let down by the authorities and John McCabe’s bravery in revealing his story has already encouraged others to come forward.
“Young men like John were detained by the State and then they were abused by agents of the State and others inside and outside Medomsley.
“Only Neville Husband and Lesley Johnson were convicted. The others, and there are undoubtedly others, are still at liberty.
“They must be caught, prosecuted and sent to jail for their heinous crimes.”
Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham has been at the centre of a sex abuse scandal after former guard, Neville Husband, was found guilty of the mass rape of boys under his care.
The sickening assaults took place over a period of nearly 15 years during the 1970s and 80s.
Husband was eventually snared and jailed for 12 years. Also jailed was Lesley Johnson, a store man at Medomsley, who went down for six years.
Both are now dead.
Police are probing new claims that Husband and Johnson were not acting alone and that the rape of young inmates was systematically carried out in various other locations outside Medomsley by a larger group of sexual predators.
The horrific crimes were initially thought to have taken place solely inside the centre and at the home Husband shared with his wife and young son.
John was sent to Medomsley for nine months after being found guilty of a break-in at a jewellers in Scarborough.
He was raped by Husband nearly every day during his detention.
Apart from the physical abuse, he had to deal with the mental torture of what was happening to him.
After his release he buried the sickening experience at Medomsley in the back of his mind and set about building a new life for himself.
John, who is now happily married with three children, last year summoned up the courage to contact Durham Police, who launched an investigation.
However, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to take any further action against Husband, stating it was not in the public interest to do so.
John said: “I was devastated by this decision.
“My last hope for justice was to approach my local MP Michael McCann.
“Thankfully Michael gave me his full support and with his help I went to the police again.
“After he campaigned for a new investigation, including raising the matter direct with David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions, the case was re-opened.
“I am completely confident the authorities will carry out a full investigation into what happened at Medomsley because they are now convinced that Husband and Johnson were not acting alone.”

Source East Kilbride News