Thursday, 26 September 2013

Medomsley Detention Centre: 64 new 'victims' come forward

Abuse victim's plea for others to come forward to help police investigation

Child sex abuse victim Richard Hall, 50, urges other 'victims' to help police with their enquiries into abuse at Medomsley Dentention Centre
Simon Greener
Richard Hall who helped convict a paedophile prison officer is appealing to other potential victims to come forward
A man who helped convict a paedophile prison officer is appealing to other potential victims to come forward.

Richard Hall, 50, believes up to 100 young boys may have been abused by Neville Husband at Medomsley Detention Centre in Consett during the 1970s and 1980s.

Waiving his right to anonymity, Mr Hall, hopes others suffering in silence will speak to Durham Police officers currently investigating senior managers who potentially may have ‘turned a blind eye’ to his crimes.

Mr Hall said: “Husband used to read the files and he would pick the vulnerable kids where they wouldn’t have any visitors or family.

“I’d been in care since I was three weeks old. He would swat up on their backgrounds and pick you to work with him in the kitchen.”

In 2003 Husband, who would later become a minister in the United Reformed Church in Gateshead in 1994, was jailed for eight years for molesting Richard and for other at the facility for young offenders between 1975 and 1981.

He died in 2010 aged 72.

In August this year Durham Police re-opened their investigation with Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry tasked with unravelling crimes which happened to boys taken ‘off-site’.

Det Supt Goundry said: “If there were officers who ignored evidence about a paedophile ring at Medomsley then they will be traced and investigated too.”

Richard, who lives in Newcastle, spent three months in custody at the centre in 1980 for being a passenger in a stolen car.

His abuse started within days in a room above the kitchen.

However, he knows of other boys who were blindfolded and taken off-site in Husband’s car.

“What he did to the ones he took away in his car is unspeakable and it was more than one person involved,” he said.

“If this was looked at under the context of the Geneva Convention it would be classed as torture but because it’s little boys it gets the label of ‘historical abuse’.

“I’m determined now to see that justice is done before time runs out.

“People are getting older and everyone involved needs to be held to account.”

Richard, alongside the other victims who helped convict him in 2003, believe the real figure of those abused at Medomsley will be at least 100 by the time the investigation is finished.

He said: “We’ve had 60 come forward this summer on top of the 22 around the time of the original trial but from people close to the centre of the investigation I’ve heard it’s nearly 100. The man was there for 17 years so there’s others out there.”

The former Medomsley Detention Centre
The detention centre closed in the late 1980s

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More than 60 people have contacted police in the past month to say they were sexually abused at a former County Durham detention centre.
Medomsley juvenile detention centre was the focus of an investigation which resulted in Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson jailed for abusing inmates.
The case was reopened in August when a former inmate said he was also abused.
Det Supt Paul Goundry said: "We have 64 victims to date. That number is growing and will no doubt grow again."
Church minister Husband, who worked at the detention centre as a prison officer, was jailed for 12 years in 2003 for the abuse which is said to have happened between 1974 and 1984.
Johnson, a store man, was sentenced to six years in 2005.
Both are now dead.

“Start Quote

He would lock me in the store room area and uninterrupted would carry out what I've always described as torture”
Former inmate Kevin Young on Neville Husband
'Utmost respect'
Durham Police said "almost two dozen" victims were known to police in the original investigation. Sixty four alleged victims have come forward since it reopened.
Det Supt Goundry said police were looking for other potential victims, abusers and "potentially senior management turning a blind eye".
"We will go where the evidence takes us," he said.
"It's heartbreaking. The young men who were sent to Medomsley potentially only had one offence, their first offence, and if you came under the care of Neville Husband there was every possibility you would be sexually abused and raped."
John McCabe, from East Kilbride in Scotland, who has waived his right to anonymity, prompted the investigation to be reopened.
He said the abuse took place 30 years ago when Husband recruited him to work in the kitchen, and that he also took him out of Medomsley, where he was raped by another man.
Neville Husband  
Neville Husband was jailed for abusing male inmates in 2003
"I'd like to assure the victims that have come forward or any that come forward will be treated with the utmost respect," Mr McCabe said.
"If that means counselling right away, Durham Constabulary will do that."
Kevin Young was 17 when he was sent to Medomsley in 1977 for handling a stolen watch.
"Neville Husband picked me out for kitchen work," he said.
"Within days what started as light touching and pressing himself against me very quickly escalated into situations where he was forcing me to go upstairs to a store room area.
"He would lock me in the store room area and uninterrupted would carry out what I've always described as torture."
Medomsley closed in the late 1980s after the abuse came to light. It has since reopened as a secure training centre.
In 2003, Newcastle Crown Court heard how Husband, who became a minister in the United Reformed Church after 27 years in the prison service, had used his position of authority to systematically abuse his victims.
The male inmates, who were aged between 16 and 19 at the time, had been picked by Husband to work in the kitchens, where he would sometimes "blatantly" indecently assault them or take them away for abuse in secret.

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