Friday, 2 May 2014

Operation Seabrook - Medomsley Detention Centre

​ ‘Operation Seabrook’ is the major criminal investigation into allegations of serious sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by staff against detainees at Medomsley Detention Centre near Consett, County Durham.

The abuse is alleged to have happened over a period of many years, principally the 1970's and 1980's. 
The investigative team has now heard from more than 550 former inmates at Medomsley who have reported they were abused while detained at the centre.

A BBC 'Inside Out' programme on the case was broadcast at the end of January 2014 and remains available to view via the BBC website.

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.

The caller’s details 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 Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) is Det Supt Paul Goundry, with Det Chief Insp Brad Howe as the deputy SIO. Marian Garland, a former detective has been appointed victim co-ordinator and can be contacted directly via

Durham Constabulary is working with a number of organisations to provide the best possible support for victims. Access to support is available without the need to contact the police for those who feel unable to do so.

Independent Psychotherapist Zoe Lodrick

The following organisations can be contacted independently of the police for support .

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children                                                                                    0808 800 5000
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. 

Police Launch Paedophile Ring Investigation at Detention Centre

Police have launched an investigation into an alleged paedophile ring at a notorious youth detention centre.
Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham has been at the centre of a sex abuse scandal after former guard, Neville Husband, was found guilty of the mass rape of boys under his care.

The sickening assaults took place over a period of nearly 15 years during the 1970s and 80s.

Husband was eventually caught and jailed for 12 years. Also jailed was Lesley Johnson, a store man at Medomsley, who went down for six years.

Both are now dead.

The horrific crimes were initially thought to have taken place solely inside the centre and at the home Husband shared with his wife and young son.

However, police are probing sensational new claims that Husband and Johnson were not acting alone and that the rape of young inmates was systematically carried out in various other locations outside Medomsley by a larger group of sexual predators.

This new investigation was launched thanks to the brave testimony of a 49-year-old East Kilbride man who was one of Husband’s young victims.

John McCabe was just 17 when he was sent to Medomsley for nine months after being found guilty of a break-in at a jewellers in Scarborough.

He was raped by Husband nearly every day during his detention.

Apart from the physical abuse, he had to deal with the mental torture of what was happening to him.
After his release he buried the revolting experience at Medomsley in the back of his mind and set about building a new life for himself.

John is now happily married with three children.

He was reminded of his former nightmare when he saw an image of Husband on a roller ticker on his PC whilst researching work information 2009.

Within a week, John summoned up the courage to contact Durham Police, who launched an investigation.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to take any further action against Husband, stating it was not in the public interest to do so.

John said: “I was devastated by this decision.

“I was really down and my last hope for justice was to approach my local MP, Michael McCann, who’d been a classmate at secondary school in East Kilbride.

“Thankfully Michael gave me his full support and with his help I went to the police again.

“After he campaigned for a new investigation, including raising the matter direct with David Cameron at Prime Ministers questions,  the case was re-opened.

“After meeting the authorities on 12 August in Durham Police HQ I am completely confident they will carry out a full investigation into what happened at Medomsley because they are now convinced that Husband and Johnson were not acting alone.

“In addition, they are now taking seriously the claims that the rapes and other abuse took place in a number of locations, which until now had not been identified.”

Local MP Michael McCann said: “I have known John since 1976 when we started high school together.
“He got into trouble with the authorities when he was young and he has paid a gruesome price.

“I knew it would be tough to restart an investigation when the events took place so long ago and the person who appears to have been the main protagonist is dead but people that commit crimes must face justice.

“I have therefore been working hard to convince the police to look into this case.

“I am pleased that the case has been re-opened and John and I want to support the Durham Police investigation fully.

“We have been working behind the scenes for several months discussing how best to make an appeal for information about abuse that took place either inside or outside Medomsley Detention Centre.

“And last week we launched our appeal through Mirror Group newspapers and local ITV stations advising the public that the investigation has been formally re-opened and calling for information about the events that took place thirty years ago.

“I am pleased to say that the police have received a number of calls in relation to the investigation.

“We know that young men attempted to report abuse 30 years ago but they were let down by the authorities and John McCabe’s bravery in revealing his story has already encouraged others to come forward.

“Young men like John were detained by the State and then they were abused by agents of the State and others inside and outside Medomsley.

“Only Neville Husband and Lesley Johnson were convicted.

“ The others, and there are undoubtedly others, are still at liberty.

“They must be caught, prosecuted and sent to jail for their heinous crimes.”

Detective Supt Paul Goundry, head of safeguarding for Durham Constabulary said; “Durham Constabulary previously carried out a major investigation into sexual abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre which in 2003 resulted in a member of staff, Neville Husband being convicted and sent to jail for his crimes. He preyed on some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our society and left many of them with mental scars which have lasted a lifetime.

“While we contacted and took statements from a number of victims as part of this investigation, we believe there are others who for whatever reason have never come forward. It is those people we have now asked to contact us and pass on any information about what took place during their time at Medomsley, whether it happened at the centre or off-site.

“I have assured them we have experienced officers on hand to talk to them and they will be treated with the utmost sensitivity. What happened at Medomsley was organised abuse on a large scale and we are committed to ensuring every victim feels they have had the opportunity to speak. Throughout our enquiries we will be in constant touch with the CPS who will ultimately advise on whether there are grounds to bring criminal charges.

“John has shown great bravery in giving up his right to anonymity and talking about the abuse he suffered. I hope that by doing so he will encourage others to come forward and pass on any information they have. ”

Police need to investigate Portland prison for historic sexual offences

Frances Crook: 'Twenty years ago people were less willing to talk about being sexually abused.'
Frances Crook: 'Twenty years ago people were less willing to 
talk about being sexually abused.'

By Frances Crook

Durham police are investigating sex abuse of young boys by staff at Medomsley detention centre and have estimated there may be as many as 500 victims.  The 70 strong team of officers is looking at historic abuse at the child jail of boys from the 1970s to the 1980s. It appears that Neville Husband and other staff may have run an organised ring of men who raped and abused young boys in the detention centre and that it could have been known to other staff who turned a blind eye.

The problem is that the local police are only able to investigate what happened in this one institution and refer to other forces any allegations about abuse at other prisons.

In the 1990s the Howard League revealed a brutal regime of violence that was both extreme and routine in Portland prison for boys where Neville Husband, the key perpetrator of abuse in Medomsley, had worked previously. Our concern was that the violence was happening at the time and we campaigned to put a stop to it. The governor was moved, staff were suspended and some were dismissed. Children were removed from the prison so it now holds older teenagers only. The police investigated but took no criminal charges against staff.  The evidence is that the prison is a different, safer place today.

I spoke to an investigating officer in Durham police to express my concern that there may have been a pattern of abuse and a paedophile ring operating for many years inside Portland prison but was told I had to talk to Dorset police.  Durham police said that if they get allegations made by individuals about abuse they experienced at other prisons they pass it on to the local police forces round the country. This means that patterns are missed. That is what happened with Jimmy Saville.

I don't know if the violence inflicted on boys in Portland for decades was accompanied by sexual abuse. Put simply, no-one ever asked.  When the Howard League started investigating the regime of beatings in Portland, dozens of men came forward to say that they had experienced violence in the jail decades previously. However, the question about sexual abuse was not raised. Twenty years ago people were less willing to talk about being sexually abused. Many of the men who talked to us were ashamed about having been beaten by staff and suffered the trauma for the rest of their lives.

As Neville Husband worked in the kitchen at Portland and it was from the kitchens at Medomsley that he ran his paedophile ring, raping young boys in the jail daily, it would seem possible that he started at Portland.  The police should at least ask the question.

Frances Crook is chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, the oldest penal reform charity in the United Kingdom.