Medomsley Detention Centre: Additional abuse allegations

Medomsley Detention Centre: Additional abuse allegations

It has been one year since the BBC programme Inside Out aired detailing the scale of abuse and subsequent allegations of a cover-up that occurred at Medomsley Detention Centre between 1974 and 1984. The programme included a police appeal for victims and witnesses. Since programme aired the number of victims that have contacted authorities with allegations of abuse has reached over 1500. On Tuesday 16th January a Hearing at Teesside Crown Court saw 7 former Medomsley Detention Centre employees charged with a range of abuse related allegations including assault, wounding, false imprisonment, indecent assault and serious sex assault. However, more recently it has been revealed that 17 former workers could face charges.

Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry said they were focusing on three specific areas of the inquiry; finding out what happened over 20 years ago, holding the perpetrators to account (if alive) and supporting the victims.

The Background

In 2003, Neville Husband was found guilty for 10 counts of indecent assault and 1 serious sexual offence, and sentenced to 8 years. This was later extended to 10 years after a further 12 victims came forward and Husband subsequently dropped his appeal. He served just over half this sentence before being released in 2009 and died a year later.

Husband was first arrested in 1967 for the illegal importation of homosexual pornography into a prison but he was never charged as he claimed they were for research purposes. He was allowed to start work in the prison service and it is alleged that the first of his offences took place at Portland Young Offenders Institution before Husband was moved to Medomsley.

After 17 years at Medomsley, Husband was forced to leave in either 1985 or 1986 over allegations of abuse and was transferred to Frankland Maximum Security Prison then to Deerbolt Young Offenders Institution in Barnard Castle, County Durham. During his time at Deerbolt, further allegations of sexual abuse were raised against Husband, but the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute as the claims were deemed “not to be in the public interest.” Husband returned to Frankland, where he received a promotion to senior officer from then Governor Martin Narey.

A second employee from Medomsley, Leslie Johnson, was sentenced for 6 years in 2005 for sexual abuse offences.

The Cover Up

It is believed the new allegations and the continued police inquiry has led detectives to examine claims of a cover up intended to mask the true extent of the offences and in particular the level at which senior management “turned a blind-eye.”

Fellow prison guards have claimed that Husband was given special treatment by the numerous governors and senior management figures during his 17 years at Medomsley to help cover up the abuse.

The Director of Prison Services has apologised to victims insisting “we should have stopped him much earlier.” Tim Newell, Governor at Medomsley between 1978 and 1981 said “If I had any suspicions about sexual abuse or abuse of any kind I would have taken action. If staff knew about the abuse taking place I am very concerned they let the abuse continue.”

So what can the victims do?

If you were the victim of abuse at Medomsley – or any other institution – we realise it is not about the money. However, significant compensation may be available for the suffering caused as a consequence of repeated and serious sexual assaults – additional compensation may also be given to fund counselling treatment.

Watson Woodhouse Solicitors have a team of specialist civil solicitors who have experience in successful actions, against both private individuals and public authorities, relating to historic abuse cases. Please contact us for a confidential and FREE initial consultation to discuss your concerns.