Thursday, 28 July 2016

Operation Seabrook - Medomsley Detention Centre update 11/07/2016

‘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 police; 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 Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) is Det Supt Paul Goundry and Det Con Tracey Etchells is the victim co-ordinator.

Anyone needing to make contact with them in writing can email

The 'Seabrook' team has now heard from more than 1,340 former inmates at Medomsley who have reported they were abused while detained at the centre.

All of the surviving main suspects - 31 in total - 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 or witnesses are likely to give evidence.

Mr Goundry (pictured above) said; "Our focus remains around obtaining third party information for the 130+ victims who have been identified as potential court witnesses. This is a slow process as we are reliant on other organisations to check their records and often it takes time for them to respond."

Seabrook is also part of Justice Goddard's Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). It was announced last November that Medomsley would be a case study within the ‘Children in Custodial Institutions’ investigations .

The inquiry is in regular liaison with the police to progress this.. It is also important to remember that the inquiry will be focused on institutional failures rather than individual criminal guilt.

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.

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.


Clergyman accepts hugging boy, but denies indecency claims

 DENIALS: Accused ex-Archdeacon of Auckland, Granville Gibson.

A FORMER senior clergyman has denied committing any indecent acts with male teenagers, although he did accept hugging one troubled young churchgoer in "comfort".

Granville Gibson was giving evidence on the fourth day of his trial at Durham Crown Court, where he denies six counts of indecent assault and one other serious sexual offence.

Two other offences of indecent assault, also denied by Mr Gibson, have now been dropped by the Crown, with agreement of the defence and Judge Christopher Prince, as an expediency to ease the ultimate jury deliberations.

The 80-year-old former Archdeacon of Auckland, from Darlington, is said to have committed the offences earlier in his career in the Church, when he was the minister at St Clare’s, at Newton Aycliffe, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Two alleged victims were teenage males, while a third was a young churchman, in his mid-20s, at the time.

Mr Gibson said he had no recollection of one of the complainants, an 18-year-old who was performing community service work at the church in the late seventies.

He is accused of committing one of the offences when later making a surprise unsupervised visit to see the 18-year-old shortly after he was admitted to the former Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett.

The court heard that in a police interview he said he had never been to the detention centre, but he then claimed he could not recall the occasion, when asked about an entry in an old diary found in his loft, detailing the visit and naming the complainant as the person he was going to see, alongside directions to Medomsley, all in his handwriting.

Asked about a “rebellious” young churchgoer who he agreed he had “taken under his wing” at the behest of his family, Mr Gibson said he would often hug him to comfort the boy when he was upset.

But he denied that this was followed by any further physical contact in the form of pressing himself against the boy, while aroused, or touching him over his clothing in the crotch area.

During questioning by his counsel, Andrew Stubbs, he was asked about a co-counselling church movement, whose meetings Mr Gibson attended as a young clergyman.

The court heard the movement advocated full body contact hugging, which Mr Gibson agreed caused him sexual arousal, whether with a man or woman.

Because of this the married father-of-four said he stopped attending the meetings and, asked by Mr Stubbs, he denied having ever participated in a, “physical homosexual relationship”.

But he added that he never spoke of this to his now late wife, Edna.
Mr Gibson will return to the witness stand to continue giving his evidence today (Friday July 29).