Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Officer leading Medomsley detention centre abuse investigation steps down

Det Supt Paul Goundry has assured victims that the three year investigation will not be impacted by his retirement

16:47, 8 NOV 2016

The officer leading Operation Seabrook, Det Supt Paul Goundry

The senior officer leading the investigation into sex abuse at the infamous Medomsley detention centre in County Durham has stepped down.

Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry has headed up Operation Seabrook since it was established in August 2013. He has now retired to take up another role outside of the police force.

In a recent letter sent to victims he moved to assure them that the three year investigation will not be impacted by his retirement.

He said: “I have been invited to take on a newly created role outside of the police service, working as the project lead on an initiative which will serve the needs of sexual assault victims of all ages across County Durham and Darlington.

“In this position I will be working with all the relevant statutory agencies, looking at how we support victims of sexual abuse and whether the services which currently exist can be improved and co-ordinated more effectively.

“In order to take up this position, I have had to retire as a police officer which in turn means I had to give up my position as the senior investigating officer for Operation Seabrook.

“Please let me assure you, this will make no practical difference whatsoever to our ongoing investigation.”

The investigation into assaults on inmates at Medomsley Detention Centre is now the biggest child abuse inquiry in the UK. Operation Seabrook detectives in their office at Chester-Le-Street Police station.

Det Chief Insp Steve Chapman is set to take over the leadership role with Det Chief Insp Mick Callan remaining in post as deputy senior investigating officer.

In his letter Det Supt Goundry went on to say: “As you know, Mick has been involved in Seabrook from the outset therefore the investigation could not be in safer hands.”

The operation is one of the largest abuse investigations in UK criminal history and is attempting to establish what happened at Medomsley detention centre near Consett from the 1960s to 1988 when it closed.

More than 1,240 former inmates at Medomsley detention centre have now come forward to report being physically or sexually abused while being held at the facility.

The scale and complexity of the investigation meant the force bought in a team of experienced retired detectives.

The former detainees were all in their teens when they were sent to Medomsley for what were often relatively minor offences.

They typically spent six to eight weeks at the Home Office-run centre before being released.