More than a dozen alleged victims have come forward with new allegations of sexual abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre, after police announced they would re-investigate child abuse claims from the 1970’s and 1980’s and appealed for victims who had not previously come forward to do so.
The investigation follows the conviction of a prison officer at the detention centre for teenage boys in 2003. Neville Husband was convicted of sexually abusing five inmates between 1974 and 1984, after pleading not guilty. In 2005 Husband’s sentence was increased to 10 years after new victims came forward and he admitted to four more attacks. Husband left prison in 2009 and died the following year.
Husband, the main perpetrator who was in charge of the kitchens, may have abused hundreds of boys on a daily basis over a 17-year period. Previous investigations carried out by Durham Constabulary in 2002 and 2005 resulted in two more men being convicted. Another member of staff at the detention centre near Consett, storeman Leslie Johnson, was imprisoned for six years for abusing a boy at the centre. Johnson also died after being released from prison.
One victim told police he had been abused by Husband, on and off the detention centre premises. He also said he had been raped by another man at a location Husband had taken him to. The victim went to the police in 2009, after Husband was released, but the Crown Prosecution Service took no action.
Another teenager at the detention centre said he had been taken to Husband’s house in 1977, ligatured and blindfolded and raped by three men. On the day of his release this victim reported Husband to Consett police, he said he showed a police officer the ligature marks on his neck, but was told it was a criminal offence to make such allegations against a prison officer, especially while on license.
With allegations being ignored this lead the alleged victims to believe a police cover-up was in place and nobody would believe them. Durham police later confirmed that the teenagers complaint to Consett had not been acted on.
Jordans Lead Child Abuse Solicitor, Lisa Jackson, said: “We are pleased that the police are now re-investigating the case. Jordans has acted on behalf of a many victims of Medomsley Detention Centre for a number of years and continue to do so. We hope that the new investigation will lead to justice for those who suffered abuse”.