Five former officers at Medomsley Detention Centre have been convicted of the offence of misconduct in a public office and two former officers have been charged with offences of physical assaults.

Following three trials which started on the 3rd September 2018, the conviction of the former officers can now be reported. Judge Howard Crownson lifted the reporting restrictions when the verdicts were heard earlier today.

The investigation into Medomsley has been investigated by Durham’s Police Operation Seabrook, which was launched in August 2013 and we have closely followed their investigation. Durham Police spoke to 1,676 former inmates of Medomsley about the abusive treatment and beatings they endured from the 1960s to its closure in 1988. The operation has been described as “one of the biggest UK investigations of its kind.

During the course of the trials the Jury was told that:

“much of the violence was for the enjoyment of the officers.”

The investigation resulted in 7 former members of staff being charged with offences of abuse against the boys in their care.

On the conclusion of 3 separate trials the following former staff members have been convicted:

Christopher Onslow has been convicted of 5 counts of physical abuse charges and misconduct in public office.

John Mcgee has been convicted with misconduct in public office and the physical assault of an inmate.

Kevin Blakely has been convicted of misconduct in public office.

Alan Bramley has been convicted of misconduct in public office.

Brian Greenwell has been convicted of misconduct in a public office.

A date for sentencing has not as yet been set.

Medomsley Detention Centre opened in February 1961 and was a centre designed to hold offenders aged 17 to 21. Concerns about brutality at Medomsley were raised as early as 1967.

We are aware of the traumatic events suffered by our clients on a daily basis whilst at Medomsley. Our clients tell us that there lived in fear from the moment they arrived at Meomsley until the day they left. We hear terrible accounts of the violent attacks they suffered for no reason or for the most minor misdemeanour.

During the course of the trial, one victim described the detention centre as “hell on earth.”

Christopher Onslow, who was a physical training officer, was convicted of a wide range of violent offences against detainees.

The Jury heard how he “exploited his position of authority in a consistently sadistic and brutal fashion.”

Incidents involving Christopher Onslow which were heard during the course of the trial include:

  • Beating up a detainee who came to him to report that he had been sexually abused by another officer
  • Throwing rocks at a young man who was on a cargo net, causing him to fall and crush three vertebrae
  • Breaking an inmate’s ankle by slamming a medicine ball down on it.

We represent clients who suffered physical and sexual assaults during their time at Medomsley to obtain compensation for the assaults they suffered and the psychological and physical injuries they suffered as a result of the treatment they endured.

We have already recovered significant compensation for our clients who were mistreated during their time at Medomsley.


If you were a detainee at Medomsley and suffered sexual/physical abuse or assaults you may be entitled to compensation. If you have been affected by this article and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted free on 0800 9555 094.

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