Detectives leading the country's biggest investigation
into historic sex abuse have spoken to 30 former members of staff at the
detention centre where young victims were preyed on with no chance of
A total of 1,254 victims have come forward to tell Durham
Police that they were physically or sexually abused in the 60s, 70s and
80s at Medomsley Detention Centre near Consett.
This was where guard Neville Husband and accomplice Leslie Johnson were able to commit sex attacks on vulnerable young men, many of whom were briefly locked up for offences which would nowadays be dealt with by community orders.
Both were jailed and have since died.
One trainee was sexually abused after having a bread knife held to his throat, another was attacked after he stole marzipan and icing from a store.
Husband and storeman Johnson's offending led Durham Police to launch Operation Seabrook, a huge investigation which has seen retired detectives brought back in to help with the in-depth inquiry.
Medomsley closed in 1988 and detectives have traced ex-employees of the centre.
Officers have spoke to 30 former prison officers, members of staff or governors. Two of the 30 were arrested on suspicion of physical and sexual assaults.
Detectives went to the newspaper offices of the Newcastle Chronicle to research stories from the past 50 years on Medomsley.
The investigative phase has finished, and senior figures are in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service and legal counsel about bringing charges in 2016.
Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry, who has led the two-year investigation, said recently: "The aim is once this is finished it's finished forever, we have to do it right, this investigation has to be meticulous."
Lawyer David Greenwood, a specialist in the rights of survivors of sexual abuse, who represents some of the Medomsley victims had no criticism of the police.
"The commitment shown by Paul Goundry and his officers has been really first class," he said.
"I think they are doing a tremendous job.
"The scale of the inquiry just demonstrates how badly things can go wrong with institutional failures.
"This has not happened just at Medomsley, it can happen in local authorities, churches, prisons and hospitals around the country."
Mr Greenwood, who works for West Yorkshire firm Switalskis, welcomed the fact that Medomsley would be included in the Goddard Inquiry, the national, independent investigation into child abuse, led by Dame Lowell Goddard QC.
He said: "Her inquiry has the power to get to the heart of allegations of collusion."
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