"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.
Would they allow a known sex offender to continue working for 27 years within the youth penal system? Would they facilitate his transfers from institution to institution while they knew that he was a danger to young boys? I’m afraid the answer is yes; they would and they did allow just that. ‘They’ are the Home Office and their employees.
Neville Husband, a married 67-year-old from Shotley Bridge, County Durham, staged a string of sexual abuse offences at the Medomsley centre in the 1970s and 1980s. After his career in the prison service, Husband became a Clergyman of the United Reform Church. In February 2003, Husband was convicted at Newcastle Crown Court of abusing five youngsters and was jailed for eight years. The publicity surrounding the trial led to others coming forward, and in September 2005 he was jailed for a further two years after admitting attacks on four more teenagers. He is now a known and convicted paedophile who is currently serving out his ten year prison sentence.
Husband himself worked for nearly 30 years as a prison officer and Home Office employee. As with most employers, his employers wrote his employment records, and right there on top of the pile of files is one dating back to 1967. It says Neville Husband had been arrested for the illegal importation of homosexual pornography directly into the prison. When training with the prison service, Husband claimed he bought the material for research purposes and was never charged. He was also quizzed in 1999 - five years after he was ordained as a minister - in connection with police operations probing mail order pornography. The case was dropped. One of his many victims is now pursuing the right to sue his employers for vicarious liability in a high profile sex abuse scandal.
Kevin Young, suffered at the hands of Husband, while he was serving a short sentence at the Medomsley Detention Centre, Consett, Co Durham in 1977. Husband, who became a church minister after quitting the prison service, was jailed after admitting a string of horrific sex attacks on teenage boys. Between 1969 & 1984 Despite the Home Office’s attempt to block the move, last year Mr Young won a landmark legal case to launch a bid for compensation at a hearing in Leeds against the Home Office, which ran the detention centre where Husband worked. The Home Office tried to get the case thrown out, and their plea was that too much time has passed since the crimes occurred. This has customarily worked well as a defence for child abusers in the past, as the 1980 Limitation Act states claims for compensation need to be lodged three years after attacks took place. But Mr Young's legal team argued there was provision for people to lodge claims three years after the "date of knowledge". Abuse victims may not realise how badly they have been harmed until years after the attacks took place.
Although the 1980 Limitation Act does do a valuable job and performs its function well in certain areas, it was never meant to be used or abused in order to allow the high and mighty of this land to manipulate the legal process in their own favour. The Judge (Judge Cockroft) at Leeds Crown Court rejected the Home Office’s plea of limitation. Even so, the Home Office has appealed against Judge Cockroft’s ruling, and tried to block Kevin Young’s fight for justice.
Mr Young's solicitor, David Greenwood, of Wakefield firm Jordan's, said: "This stalls the process until it's heard in the Court of Appeal in London.
"They have already tried to have his case thrown out, but they weren't successful. Now they are appealing against that decision.
"Hopefully, if Kevin is successful again, he will be able to go on and prove that the Home Office neglected to care for him adequately and allowed this abuser to sexually assault him."
Neville Husband hand-picked boys to work with him in the kitchens before brutally attacking them. One boy was forced to submit after having a bread knife held to his throat. Another was attacked when he was caught stealing icing and marzipan from the kitchen storeroom. Many of these offences were happening as early as1967 at Portland Young Offenders Institution, and at Medomsley Detention Centre for 17 years.
Psychologist Elli Godsy said that these crimes were some of the worst sexual abuse she has ever heard of.
“This is one of the worst cases of sexual abuse I have come across in my 17 years working for the home office and working with some of the most prolific sex offenders and victims in the country.”
Sexual abuse on this scale could only happen in an institution, and Husband was continually moved around from one young offenders institution to another, allowing him to continue to sexually assault young boys wherever he went with absolute and total impunity. Countless young people were dehumanized and degraded in a never-ending flow of young flesh to the torture chamber.
Governors and senior management were in full knowledge as to the horrors that were going on in the Medomsley Detention Centre. They became the people who aided and abetted Neville Husband in his perversions. They helped him to escape liability for damage done to so many people, over a very long time. Governors and senior management turned a blind eye to the blatant sexual, physical abuse, and constant barracking. This destructive behavior originated from those who were meant to be helping with the rehabilitation of young minds, with the intention that these young boys would go on to becoming productive members of society
For example, governors and senior management not only knew what was going on in the kitchen area but they actively prevented all officers’ rights of search in Neville Husband’s designated areas. Former prison officer David Gordon McClure alleged that…
"Tim Newell (the Governor) thought very highly of Husband and seemed to look after him.”
“For example, on a regular basis on rotation we would thoroughly search various areas within the centre. This was to look for cigarettes and alcohol.”
“All main areas of the prison were searched except for the kitchen area.
“The prison management would not allow anyone but Husband to have access to the kitchen area. If anyone did try and search this area there were reprimanded by management.” especially a governor called Tim Newell”
“There were always very strong rumours that Neville Husband was homosexual and that he was sexually abusing boys who were working for him in the kitchen. This was general knowledge amongst staff and boys in the centre."
“Most evenings Husband would usually keep one boy back with him after the others had been dismissed and we all felt sorry for that boy.
“Nobody reported their suspicions to anyone because Husband was so close to and supported by the Governor and his senior management. Without proof we knew that nothing would come of it except that we would be moved to a different prison.”
We feel that as we were prisoners, articles from the Geneva Convention on the torture and degradation of prisoners would be more applicable in cases like this.
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We go to court again in London on the 17th 18th and 19th of October to hear the reasons behind the Home Offices appeal against judge Cockroft’s historic decision. This may allow Kevin Young’s case to go forward to the high court.
Mr Young, 45, said: "I've said from the start, this is not about money. It is about the principle that people knew this was going on but nothing was done about it.
The experience left him mentally scarred, and he was determined to help bring his tormentors to justice. This started when police officers asked him to tell his story back in 1998 as part of the operation rose years ago.
The evidence and testimonies of the many victims and other prison officers from Medomsley at the time Neville Husband was there, were instrumental in bringing him to justice. Jurors heard how Husband used intimidation and fear to ensure the silence of his detention centre victims, all from damaged backgrounds.
Judge Esmond Faulks told him:
"Their fear of you caused them to submit to your unwelcome attentions and this was in my judgement a gross breach of trust. You and others like you helped cause their damaged personalities. Until now they never thought anyone would believe them.
After the case, Det Insp Simon Orton, who led the Durham Police investigation, said he was delighted by the outcome of the case.
“It is clear this man feasted himself on these young men who were in his charge," he said. "I hope that this will bring closure for the victims. I have no doubt in my mind their lives will always be affected by what happened in Medomsley. My thoughts are very much with the victims still. DI Orton said:
"He has never acknowledged any guilt."
“They have been very brave."
Following the news coverage of his first trial, that Neville Husband was called back to court. More than seven new victims had come forward, and he eventually pleaded guilty and what’s more dropped his appeal against his original 10 year sentence.
Tim Newell was Governor from 1979 to 1981 at Medomsley. He was at Grendon prison as well as the architect of the restorative justice reforms. He says in his statement… “About five years after leaving Medomsley I was on a course at the Prison Training College at Wakefield, when I bumped into a Medomsley colleague John McBee. John told me that Neville had to leave the service over an allegation that he had abused a boy.”
That would make it around 1985/86 when Husband, “Had to leave the service over an allegation that he had abused a boy.” In 1985/86, after being forced to leave Medomsley then got a promotion to senior officer at the Frankland Maximum security prison in Co Durham. Martin Narey was the deputy governor at the Frankland from 1986 to 89, and the governor when Husband was abusing at deerbolt borstal. He was promoted to a senior officer as ‘punishment’ for being caught sexually abusing boys.
Gerry Sutcliffe, parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Home Office is aware of outstanding civil claims relating to abuse of prisoners at the Medomsley detention centre which closed in 1988. His view is that while these civil actions are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment on any calls for a public inquiry.
“A cash boost in May this year thanks to £1.25million funding for voluntary and community organisations throughout England and Wales, announced Home Office Minister Gerry Sutcliffe.
"Sexual crimes can result in high levels of distress and can be the most damaging physically and emotionally. This funding will help to ensure that victims of these terrible offences have timely access to advice, information, care and counselling that meets their individual needs no matter where they are in the country.
"I am determined that the needs of victims of crime must be better met and this funding is part of a wider programme of Government initiatives to put the needs of those affected by crime central in the criminal justice system."
This is what Gerry Sutcliff says in public; however when in private he is as bad as the abusers. He is allowing the suffering of all the victims from Medomsley to continue, and has failed to respond adequately to calls for a public inquiry into Medomsley Detention Centre and the decades of sexual torture many young kids were put through.
The sexual abuse of a child is a uniquely horrible crime, because it destroys the child's sense of him or herself and undermines the capacity to trust. The fact that this crime is usually carried trusted and respected adults of some standing, makes the damage worse.
Mr. Young, says that it is not just him, but other Medomsley claimants are still locked in an ongoing high court case against the Home Office.
Mr Young, from York, said: "I saw some things that nobody should have to see as a young person.
Governors of the Medomsley Detention Centre and their senior management "were aware of what was happening" at the centre and "failed to stop or act upon, in accordance with the prison protocols of that time."
Many if not all of the vulnerable youths were from broken homes and fractured backgrounds. They took on the baggage of being in the care system, where they were also sexually and physically abused, not to mention ill educated. This was the only alternative to being looked after by the church. And we all know where that leads.
I believe Husband had access to all the records about the inmates he chose to serve in his kitchen; he used these to great effect. I also believe that he was not!! allowed to have access to these private documents that were for the eyes of the governor and senior officers only ad he would use these to make his decision on who he could abuse. Who has little contact with the outside world?
Who doesn’t have parents? How many come directly from the care system or had abusive parents?
In Medomsley, we would start work early as we had to get all the breakfasts ready for all the other inmates. Husband would always be there, almost superimposed on every synapse of each young mind in his charge. He had enormity and presence in his own kingdom.
I’ll not bother telling you how breakfasts were in Medomsley … sufficed to they were fast! Everything worked that way in places like that. Once you were at work, Husband would make an excuse to get past you while you were, lets say, tending the potato peeling machine. As he did so he would press his penis towards your backside fleetingly then carry on what he was doing.
On the way back he would do the same thing only with more gusto, and we all knew what might follow. He would sense everything from the initial contact in the dining hall, where he would inspect the newest intake to the centre that day, and then he’d choose who would work in the kitchen.
All his victims were threatened with their lives. Neville Husband laid claim to being in the Military and was trained to kill. “You could disappear in places like this and nobody would ever know.” “You could be buried in the bottom sports field and nobody would care.”
One centre he worked in closed in 1987. There, male inmates stayed until they were 21, and during that time in the North East detention centre he went on to becoming Reverend Husband, a minister at the Brighton Road Reformed Church in Bensham, Gateshead.
The UK's most vulnerable children are being "betrayed" by a care system that is guilty of a catalogue of failings, according to a damning report. The majority of young people leaving institutions are destined to become prostitutes, homeless or spend time in prison, the study states. Harriet Sergeant, author of ‘Handle with Care: an investigation into the care system’, said:
"It is not just a tragedy for the individual. A successful system of care would transform this country.
"At a stroke it would empty a third of our prisons. It would halve the number of prostitutes, reduce by between a third and a half the number of homeless and remove 80% of Big Issue sellers from our street corners.
"Not only is our system failing the young people in care, it is failing society and perpetuating an underclass."
The report says that out of the 6,000 people who leave care on average every year, 75% (4,500) will have no educational qualifications and within two years 50% will be unemployed, while 20% (1,200) will be homeless. Just one out of a hundred will make it to university. In the year ending March 31 2005, 60,900 children were taken in care - most placed with foster parents or in children's homes. Failings of the care system included children being moved among foster carers too often, and homes focusing on short-term containment rather then the long-term well-being of the youngsters. The report concluded the system should be reformed to provide "secure, stable, long-term and loving care for difficult children".
New initiatives that might help children should be explored and young people should be tracked after leaving care in order to build up a true picture of how the system was working, it added.
One would think the Crown and its employees could not act with absolute carelessness and abandon. One would think that it has sufficient morals of the sort that bind humanity together, yet the above comments show that this is far from the truth. Even today, despite the sector’s growth in statistical knowledge and greater education, young people are still not tracked after leaving care. A public servant is allowed to continue sexually assaulting children with absolute and total impunity. The authorities, being in full knowledge of these horrors are allowed to escape liability for the damage done whilst simultaneously, those same authorities don’t hesitate to punish a child for stealing a watch. It is clear from what has happened, that carelessness and abandon are words that do describe the actions of the Crown and those public servants who are only there at all because they have our trust.
We the undersigned hope that you can bring these matters to light in an effective way. This will make a difference not only to us, but the thousands of other abuse survivors whose abuse originated from being in the care of government institutions.
To this end, we will be cooperative in any projects you wish to propose that we feel are for the greater good.