Monday, 14 April 2014

Medomsley abuse victim hits out at former deputy speaker Nigel Evans' time limit suggestion

The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author
The Northern Echo: John McCabe


John McCabe
A MAN repeatedly raped by a predatory prison officer at Medomsley Detention Centre has hit out against a suggestion by a former commons deputy speaker that there should time limits imposed on historical sexual abuse cases. 

John McCabe, who endured months of horror at the hands of Neville Husband while serving a short sentence at the former Home Office run centre in the 1980s centre, said Nigel Evans was wrong to push for changes in the law.

Mr McCabe, 48, who has waived his right to anonymity said: “It does not matter how long ago the abuse happened. It has got to be dealt with and the culprits have to be brought to account.”

He was responding to remarks made by Mr Evans, after being cleared of carrying out a series of attacks, including a rape, on a young men, following a five-week trial at Preston Crown Court.

In a wide-ranging interview Mr Evans said it was time for Britain to follow the United States and most other European countries in bringing in a statute of limitations for sex abuse accusations.

Britain has time limits for other offences, but no time limit on sex offences. The average limit across Europe is 12 years, with 20 years in cases where the alleged victim is under age.

Durham Constabulary are investigating claims from 520 former Medomsley inmates who have come forward since August to say they were physically or sexually abused at the centre, near Consett, from the late 1960s to 1980s.

The centre first made national headlines in 2003 when Husband was sentenced to ten years in jail for systematically raping several teenagers. Mr McCabe learned of the convictions a year before Husband died at his Shotley Bridge home in 2010.

The renewed investigation, known as Operation Seabrook was launched last August after Mr McCabe and his East Kilbride MP Michael McCann had high-level meeting with Durham Police chiefs.

Mr McCabe said: “When I went after Neville Husband he was still alive – but he has now died. But I knew there were other people involved that were still alive.

“That is why I continued pressing for a renewed investigation - to make ensure that other persons were brought in and arrested and questioned and perhaps prosecuted with regard to the historical abuse.”
“I could not sit back and do nothing.”