Thursday, 2 February 2017

1,400 ex-inmates at Medomsley Detention Centre are one step closer to claiming justice

After almost 1,400 men alleged to have been abused, Durham police have now handed 32 files to the Crown Prosecution Service offering advice on charges

Almost 1,400 ex-inmates at Medomsley Detention Centre who are involved in the biggest child abuse inquiry in the UK are one step closer to claiming justice.

Officers investigating allegations of historic sexual and physical abuse on inmates at a County Durham young offenders’ centre have submitted 32 files to the CPS for charging advice.

In August 2013 Durham Constabulary announced it was opening a new investigation – ‘Operation Seabrook’ - into allegations from ex-inmates of Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett.

The ex-detainees were all in their teens when they were sent to Medomsley at various dates from the 1960’s to when the centre closed in 1988, for what were often relatively minor offences.

They typically spent six to eight weeks at the Home Office-run facility before being released.

Previous police investigations in 2003 and 2005 led to the conviction and jailing of Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson, former members of staff at the centre, who have since died.

Since August 2013, a total of 1,396 men have contacted the Operation Seabrook team to report they were victims of either sexual or physical assaults. Of the sexual reports, approximately two-thirds have said they were sexually assaulted by either Husband or Johnson.

In November 2014 police began the process of interviewing ex-members of staff who worked at Medomsley during the 1960s and through to the 1980s.

While several have died in the intervening years, 32 suspects have been identified. All have now been spoken to, the majority as voluntary attenders at local police stations.

The officer leading Operation Seabrook, Temporary Detective Superintendent Steve Chapman said the investigation remains focused around its original objectives.

“We now have a significant understanding of how Medomsley Detention Centre operated during that time and we have ensured victims have been fully updated on the investigation so far. Counselling and professional support has also been available to anyone who needed help, and I am really pleased that so many people have taken us up on this offer,” he said.

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