Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Dozens of Sunderland victims report abuse at Durham’s Medomsley Detention Centre

editorial image
editorial image
DOZENS of Wearside victims have contacted police investigating abuse at the former Medomsley Detention Centre.

The Echo understands at least two dozen former inmates, from or currently living in Sunderland, Washington and Houghton, have been in touch with detectives.

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 1960’s and the mid-1980’s.

An earlier investigation led to a former catering officer at the centre, Neville Husband, being jailed in 2003 for abusing a number of young men over a period of time. He died in 2010, following his release from prison.

The detention centre housed young men from across the region and Scotland, including many from Wearside.
It is thought there may be more victims from the city who have yet to come forward.

Media coverage of the investigation has recently prompted a further 232 calls to police, bringing the total to 375.

All those who have rung over the last 10 days will be seen by an officer over the coming weeks and steered towards the appropriate support and counselling.

Up to last Monday, police had spoken to 143 people, the vast majority of whom were victims who had not previously come forward. The total also included a small number of possible witnesses or callers who had information which might help the police enquiries.

Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry, the senior investigating officer on the case, said: “Our aims all along have been to gain a clearer picture of what happened at Medomsley, obtain evidence which may lead to a criminal prosecution and, most importantly, to leave the victims in a better place than they were before.

“The recent coverage in the media has brought forward another 230 people who might not otherwise have contacted us. That suggests these victims have a level of confidence in us and feel we can help and support them.

“As our inquiries continue we are constantly learning, not only from the victims but all the agencies we are working alongside such as the NSPCC and the Sexual Assault Referral Centre at The Meadows. I think at the end of this investigation we will have some very important learning points to take on board, not just for ourselves but for the police nationally.”

•Are you one of the victims of Medomsley Detention Centre? Contact the Echo on 501 7146.