Friday, 28 March 2014

Paedophile ring uncovered by Durham Police investigating Medomsley detention centre

The senior investigating officer believes that there are many more victims than they previously thought

Kashmira Gander Author Biography

Friday 28 March 2014

Police investigating sexual abuse at the Medomsley detention centre in Durham believe they have uncovered an organised paedophile ring which operated in the 1970s and 1980s, it has been reported.

Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry, the senior investigating officer leading the 70-officer strong inquiry into the abuse claims, told the Guardian that they are now looking into a complex paedophile ring.

He added that many more victims are thought to have been affected than previously thought.

“We always knew this would be a major inquiry but the scale of it, and the sheer number of victims who have come forward, has been a shock.”

He told the newspaper that the team has also found evidence of a “brutal regime where violence was both extreme and routine.”

The officers aim to pursue prosecutions against the people who committed offences, some of which reportedly occurred over 40 years ago.

Almost 100 men have already come forward as victims and had started to receive therapy.

Police officers had thought that two men who were imprisoned for abusing boys and have since died, Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson, were “bad apples” at the centre.

Husband was imprisoned for eight years in 2003 for sexually abusing five young male inmates between 1977 and 1984, and had his sentence increased in 2005 when new victims came forward and he admitted to attacking four more boys.

Following an investigation by the newspaper, it later emerged that Husband had raped boys at the centre on a daily basis for over 15 years.

Storeman Leslie Johnson was jailed for similar offences in 1977, according to the newspaper.

But the latest findings led Durham Police to believe that Husband was part of a group of paedophiles who systematically preyed on vulnerable teenagers, particularly those who had been in care and did not have family who would visit them.

Goundry told the Guardian his officers had been shocked and sickened at evidence given by former inmates.

"From the statements, there is growing evidence to suggest there was an organised paedophile ring operating in Medomsley. This will form a major part of our operation and future discussions with the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service]."

He added that the purpose of the investigation was to encourage victims to come forward, to prosecute abusers, and to give victims after-care.

Many of the men who suffered abuse were detained for petty crimes, but some were so severely affected by abuse that they have been unable to work or leave their homes.

The team is also investigating physical abuse and the allegedly culture of violence at the centre.



Durham Constabulary would like anyone who has suffered abuse or has information which may assist the enquiry to contact them on 101 or 0345 60 60 365.

A call handler will take the caller’s details which will be referred to the ‘Operation Seabrook’ team. Further contact and investigation will then be carried out by specialist detectives who are highly trained and experienced in dealing with sensitive abuse cases.

The investigation is being lead by a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), Det Supt Paul Goundry and a Deputy SIO, Det Chief Insp Brad Howe.
NSPCC FREEPHONE HELPLINE (24 hrs): 0808 800 5000
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children                                  

The helpline is available for anyone who has concerns about a child or anyone including adults who wish to discuss their own experience of abuse as a child or young person.

Contact can also be made via e mail :  or by text 88858
Contact can be made anonymously if the caller so wishes.

National Association for People Abused in ChildhoodFreephone (from landline or a Virgin, Orange or 3 mobile) 0800 085 3330.

If you are calling from a mobile provided by O2, Vodafone or T-Mobile an alternative freephone number is 0808 801 0331. This is not a 24 hr service 

The Meadows:
The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre (Darlington and Co Durham) 0191 301 8554
The Meadows will accept calls between the hours of 9am-3.30 pm Monday to Friday and can arrange one-to-one counselling sessions and can make referrals to similar centres throughout the UK.

Counselling does not involve discussing what has happened in relation to the assault, it aims to help you work through your feelings to aid the healing process.

Staff at the Meadows will not contact the police without your consent unless there are current concerns in respect of a child or vulnerable adult.