Thursday, 6 February 2014

Beaten, stripped and mentally tortured – Sunderland dad tells of abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre

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  • by Craig Thompson

A SUNDERLAND dad today claimed he had been beaten senseless by abusive staff at the former detention centre. reported yesterday how dozens of former inmates, from or currently living in Sunderland, Washington and Houghton, have been in touch with detectives investigating abuse at the former Medomsley Detention Centre.

In August last year Durham police announced it was opening a new investigation into allegations inmates at the Home Office-run centre were either sexually or physically abused during their time at Medomsley, between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s.

One victim, now 46, today described the horrific abuse which left him mentally scarred.

He said: “I was in there in 1985.

“On my first day, I was stripped and covered in powder to prevent lice before being marched into the centre and given a number.

“When I was asked to repeat back the number, I sniggered because I was nervous. I was then punched so hard in the stomach I couldn’t stand up straight.

“On another occasion, I’d dropped a Chewit paper on the ground and I was kept back. The officer was behind me and all I can remember is a flash and suddenly my head was being stotted off the wall.”

The man, who asked not to be identified, but still lives in Sunderland, had been sentenced to three months in the centre for causing criminal damage when he was 17.

He also recalled witnessing shocking levels of abuse on other inmates during his time there.

He said: “I was looking out of the window over the exercise yard when I saw one officer take a hockey stick and smash it over a young lad’s wrists, he must have broken them.

“Even though so many people were being attacked, no one said anything. You didn’t, you just got on with things.”

The man, who now has children of his own, told how he and other inmates had to “bunnyhop” from place to place.

  He said: “Bunnyhopping was where you had to crouch down, your hands behind your head, and jump from the dormitories to the canteen. Sometimes you would be in that position for hours at a time – it was agony.”

 The man claims he has been left mentally tortured by his time at Medomsley. He added: “Even after all these years, that place never leaves you. I’ve never talked about this for 30 years but no one who goes in there comes out the same.”