Christopher Onslow 73, John McGee 74 and Kevin Blakely have been given custodial sentences after being found guilty of physically abusing boy inmates.

These former officers worked at the Medomsley Detention Centre in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Christopher Onslow, 73, who was found guilty last month of five counts of physical abuse and two counts of misconduct in a public office will serve 8 and a half years in prison.

John McGee, 74, who was found guilty of one count of physical abuse and one count of misconduct in a public office has been handed a 2 year and 10 month sentence.

Kevin Blakely, 67, has been sentenced to 2 years and 9 months in prison, after being found guilty of two counts of misconduct in a public office.

The two other officers who have been convicted of misconduct in public office offences; Brian Greenwell and Alan Bramley will be sentenced later this month.

The Officers were sentenced at the Teeside Crown Court following an investigation by Durham Police; Operation Seabrook which involved approximately 1800 witnesses. Seventy Detectives worked on the investigation, which resulted in 32 former officers being interviewed, 7 men being charged and 5 men being convicted of abuse charges following 3 separate trials.

Judge Howard Crowson said on sentencing to all three men:

“These offences were than a collection of assaults, they represent a grievous breach of the trust placed in prison officers by members of the public.

The violence and brutality towards these trainees caused some physical injury but it was designed to crush their will and to make them feel terrified and powerless and it succeeded.
They felt they could not complain and those who did were told to continue their complaints could result in a return to Medomsley.”

The Court heard statements for 8 men who said “that their lives has been ruined as a result of Medomsley” They described ” being rounded up by wardens and beaten on their arrival to set the tone for the rest of their sentence.”

One man described how he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and still suffered flashbacks and nightmares of this time in Medomsley 37 years ago.

In 2003 and 2005 two former prison officers were convicted of sexual offences against boy inmates. Husband being convicted twice for the most serious sexual assaults. Both these men are now dead.

Jordans Solicitors have settled a significant number of cases in relation to Medomsley Detention Centre, and currently represent a large number of clients who allege physical and sexual abuse. We are part of a Steering Group collectively handling claims for over 1,000 clients affected by abuse at Medomsley. We continue to work closely with Durham Police with their investigation.


Jordans Solicitors have a dedicated team of highly specialist lawyers who can ensure your claim is handled sensitively, enabling you to secure the best outcome from those responsible for your traumatic experiences. If you would like help with pursuing a claim, please make contact with us by e-mail, telephone on our freephone number 0800 9555 094 or by completing a request a call back form.

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