Thursday, 2 February 2017

Medomsley abuse probe could see 32 face charges

Hundreds of former inmates have come forward to report abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre 

More than 30 people could face prosecution as part of an investigation into sexual and physical abuse at a County Durham detention centre.

Almost 1,400 men have claimed they were abused at Medomsley, near Consett, during the 1970s and 80s.

Durham Police said it has put forward 32 cases to the Crown Prosecution Service, which will offer advice on whether the suspects should be charged.

It added it hoped to have decisions on each one "sometime in the summer".

Detectives launched the investigation, called Operation Seabrook, in August 2013 and have interviewed former members of staff.

It followed previous probes in 2003 and 2005 which resulted in the jailing of former Medomsley wardens Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson.

Both have since died.

Neville Husband was jailed in 2003. He died in 2010 following his release from prison  

Officers said of the 1,396 men who contacted Operation Seabrook to report abuse, approximately two-thirds said they were assaulted by either Husband or Johnson.

In a statement, police said 32 suspects have been identified and all had been spoken to, the majority voluntarily.

Det Supt Steve Chapman said: "We now have a significant understanding of how Medomsley Detention Centre operated and we have ensured victims have been fully updated on the investigation so far."

He said the investigation team are constantly reviewing all new material and so the number of cases forwarded to the CPS could increase.

The former detainees were all teenagers when they were sent to the centre - often for relatively minor offences.

The facility closed in 1988.