Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Inquiry failed us say abuse victims after police rule out action over "brutal, horrible" approved school

A POLICE chief is urging alleged abuse victims from a former approved school to contact him directly after some claimed their complaints were being “swept under the carpet”.

The Northern Echo revealed earlier this year that police were looking into complaints from three individuals over their treatment while pupils at Stanhope Castle school, in County Durham, between the late 1950s and early 1970s.
Following publicity surrounding the case, a number of other people came forward also alleging physical and sexual assaults.

Durham Police say no further action is to be taken in respect of those complaints, although one line of enquiry into a reported incident remains active.

But angry former pupils say the true scale of the abuse is not being made known and claim police failed to properly investigate.

One of Durham Police’s most senior officers, Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry, head of its safeguarding team, has taken the unusual step of asking anyone unhappy to get in touch with him, while acknowledging the challenging nature of investigating historic abuse from decades ago.

A former pupil, who was told his case has now been closed, told The Northern Echo that he first went to Durham Police in 1999, only to be told years later his files had been lost.

He said 20 ex-pupils living in the region, who have formed a group, recently lodged complaints.

The 67-year-old, who lives in Middlesbrough and claims he was repeatedly raped while at Stanhope, said: “People don’t realise what went on there. This has affected me all through my life.

“I named five people and have been told two are dead and there is three they can’t trace. They were four members of staff and one former pupil.

“This can’t be shut down as long as people are still alive and they haven’t been investigated. I want all this out in the open before I die.”

Another man said he attended Stanhope in the mid 1970s and described it as an “evil, brutal, horrible place”.

He claimed he was tortured, stripped naked and locked in a room without heating or light for up to four days a time.

He said: “I am not satisfied with the recent investigation. Every time I report this, it is always swept under the carpet.”

Responding to the criticism, Det Supt Goundry said: “As a force we are committed to fully investigate every report of historic sexual abuse, as is evident in the Medomsley inquiry [concerning the former detention centre near Consett], where we are working with more than 1,250 victims.

“We will also investigate reports of historic physical assaults, but there are clear thresholds that have to be met to be made before any charge can be made.

“The police in co-operation with the Crown Prosecution Service need to consider each allegation on an individual basis, including the opportunities to gather evidence for an offence that took place decades ago.

“I urge any victim of an assault who is unhappy with Durham Constabulary’s service regarding their investigation to email me directly via

“This will enable me to make a decision on the most appropriate course of action.”

A spokesman for Durham Police said: “The initial three reports have been thoroughly investigated and all the complainants have been informed there is no further police action.

“This has also been the case with all of the subsequent allegations, except for one investigation into an alleged sexual assault which remains open and we are in regular contact with that complainant.”
Stanhope Castle, a grade II listed castle which was built in the late 18th century, became the location for a Home Office approved school during the Second World War.

It was later taken over by Cleveland County Council’s social services department in the early 1970s and turned into a children’s home, but closed in 1981 after becoming under occupied.


John McCabe (1041124) 7:37pm Mon 4 Jan 16
I can't comment with regards to Durham's investigation at Stanhope Castle Approved School.

What I can say to any;
"Unhappy Victims" Wording is no doubt a understatement !

My name is John McCabe, I am a Victim from The Medomsley Detention Centre.

I'm presently involved in Durham's Opertation SeaBrook Investigation.

I can not comment with reference to Operation SeaBrook, as it is still ongoing.

What I can say without doubt'
DS Paul Goundry is a man of his word.
DC Paul Goundry, over the past 3 years has shown the utmost respect to all victims of Medomsley" And he will go beyond the call of duty' to meet all victims personally at anytime and a location which is within the boundaries of any victims comfort zone.

I would support DC Paul Goundry's plea !
To any victims from Stanhope Castle Approved School"
If you have any issues" Please contact him.


Operation Seabrook - Medomsley Detention Centre

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

It was launched in August 2013 and is investigating incidents which happened over many years, principally the 1970's and 1980's. 

The three main aims of the investigation are to ensure support is provided for victims so they are in a better place after contacting the Seabrook team; to gain the fullest understanding of how Medomsley operated during those years and to secure evidence so that any potential offenders are brought to justice.

The 'Seabrook' team has now heard from more than 1,250 former inmates at Medomsley who have reported they were abused while detained at the centre.

All of the surviving main suspects have been identified, interviewed and prosecution files submitted to the CPS for advice.  This advice will then identify those individuals who are likely to be charged and also which victims are likely to give evidence.

At this stage it is not anticipated any criminal charges would be brought before 2016.

The Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) for Seabrook is Det Supt Paul Goundry, with Det Chief Insp Brad Howe as the deputy SIO and Marian Garland as victim co-ordinator.

Anyone needing to make contact with them in writing can email

Important - If you are a victim and your contact details have changed, for example, you have moved house or have a new phone number then please email the Seabrook team or call them via 101 so they can update their records.

Det Supt Goundry said: "We realised from an early stage this was going to be a complex and lengthy investigation and I appreciate we are now in the third year of our work.

"I would stress to all those we have spoken to and all those who have contacted us that we and CPS are working as hard as we can to carry out the necessary actions."

Durham Constabulary continues to work with various 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 all landlines and mobile networks 0808 801 0331.
Calls do not show on your bill; lines are open 10am to 9pm Monday - Thursday, and 10am to 6pm on Friday. NAPAC is unable to take messages or ring back. 

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.