Friday, 28 March 2014

Beatings and sleep torture – Sunderland Medomsley abuse victim speaks out

Ian Farrer, who claims he was physically abused while at the Medomsley Detention Centre.

Ian Farrer, who claims he was physically abused while at the Medomsley Detention Centre.
A FORMER inmate of a detention centre subjected to a police investigation today told how he was beaten by officers on a daily basis

Ian Farrer relived the horror of the “screw attacks” which have stayed with him for the past 27 years.

Mr Farrer, of Castletown, Sunderland, was just 17 when he was sentenced to four months at the centre in February 1987 for handling stolen goods.

The 45-year-old is understood to be among at least two dozen former inmates, from or currently living in Sunderland, Washington and Houghton, who have been in touch with detectives making allegations of abuse.

In August last year Durham police announced it was opening a new investigation into claims 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.

Mr Farrer said: “Even before I arrived there, people were telling me how terrible it was, comparing it to Tenko on the television.

“I soon learned just how bad it was. One day, when we were standing out on parade in the yard, one of the buckles on my gaters was loose.

“The prison warden was walking round and the next thing I remember was receiving a massive blow to my kidneys and hitting the ground.

“I was completely out of breath but that didn’t stop him giving me another crack around the head.

“I can say that, during the four months I was in there, I can’t remember a day going by when there wasn’t some form of physical abuse.

“I really just thought that’s how prisons were. It wasn’t the inmates we were scared of, it was the screws.”

Mr Farrer fortunately escaped the sexual abuse which other inmates at the centre at the time allege.

An earlier investigation led to a former catering officer at the prison, 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. The detention centre housed young men from across the region and Scotland, including many from Wearside.

Mr Farrer added: “They would wake you up in the middle of the night by banging metal bars against the pipework before making you do bunnyhops all around the place.

“After I got released, I would often wake up in the night, thinking I was still there, hearing the rattling of the pipes.”

Mr Farrer said he knew of youths there who would deliberately break their own leg to avoid having to do the punishing physical education sessions that would often lead to violence.

At the weekend, the former inmate spoke to detectives from Durham Police, investigating the centre, about the abuse he suffered.

It is thought there may be more victims from the city who have yet to come forward.

Durham Police are currently investigating hundreds of claims of abuse at the centre.