Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Hundreds contact abuse probe police

Updated on the 05 February 2014

Hundreds more potential victims of abuse at a young offenders' centre in County Durham during the late 1960s and the mid-1980s have come forward to police.

Detectives announced in August they were starting a new investigation into allegations young men sent to Medomsley Detention Centre near Consett were abused by staff.

But following widespread media coverage last week, over 200 more people came forward bringing the total number to 375.

The police said as a result all those who have rung over the last 10 days will be seen by an officer and given the appropriate support and counselling.

Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry, Durham Constabulary, 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."

In 2003, a previous police investigation called Operation Halter led to the conviction of Neville Husband, a prison officer at the centre.

Husband was initially jailed for eight years after being found guilty of abusing five youngsters.

The publicity surrounding the trial then led to others coming forward and Husband was subsequently jailed for a further two years for these attacks.

After being released from prison he died from natural causes in 2010.