Thursday, 2 February 2017

Police send 32 files to Crown Prosecution Service following investigation into Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett

DETECTIVES leading the country’s biggest investigation into historic sexual and physical abuse on inmates at a former North-East detention centre have submitted 32 files to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Following an investigation spanning more than three years, 1,403 victims have come forward to tell Durham Police they were abused by staff who ran the notorious Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett – including four in the last two days.

And detectives say Operation Seabrook, launched by the force in August 2013, could continue a further year as yet more alleged culprits are identified.

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Temporary Detective Superintendent Steve Chapman, who is leading Operation Seabrook, said: “We have now been successful in taking 32 files to the Crown Prosecution Service for charging advice.

"That is ongoing and we would expect to get decisions in the summer. The investigation does not stop there.

“The investigation team constantly reviews all new material and this number may increase.”

The ex-detainees were all in their teens when they were sent to Medomsley at various dates from the 1960’s to when the centre closed in 1988, for what were often relatively minor offences.

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

The centre gained public notoriety when guard Neville Husband and accomplice Leslie Johnson were jailed for a reign of terror which saw them commit sex acts on vulnerable young men.

One trainee was sexually abused after having a bread knife held to this throat, another was attacked after he stole marzipan and icing from a store.

Previous police investigations in 2003 and 2005 led to the conviction and jailing of Husband and Johnson. Both have since died.

Of the 405 allegations of sexual abuse made since Operation Seabrook was launched, 270 - or two-thirds – were related to either Husband or Johnson.

In November 2014 police began the process of interviewing ex-members of staff who worked at Medomsley, from the 1960’s to the 1980’s.

While several have died in the intervening years, 32 suspects have been identified and spoken to.

Temp Det Supt Chapman said: “We now have a significant understanding of how Medomsley Detention Centre operated during that time.

“It was about “short, sharp shock” treatment, which was in the guidance at the time.

“The reality is that a significant number of people stepped way above that and and we ended up with both sexual and physical abuse, which was quite horrendous.”

He added: “We have ensured victims have been fully updated on the investigation so far. Counselling and professional support has also been available to anyone who needed help, and I am really pleased that so many people have taken us up on this offer.”

“I am really pleased with the progress of this investigation so far and the dedication of both the investigators and the Crown Prosecution Service in working together to ensure all available evidence is considered in the lead up to decisions being made.”

Counselling and support remains available by contacting the local Sexual Assault Referral Centre, The Meadows, on 0191 301 8554.

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1,400 ex-inmates at Medomsley Detention Centre are one step closer to claiming justice

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After almost 1,400 men alleged to have been abused, Durham police have now handed 32 files to the Crown Prosecution Service offering advice on charges

Almost 1,400 ex-inmates at Medomsley Detention Centre who are involved in the biggest child abuse inquiry in the UK are one step closer to claiming justice.

Officers investigating allegations of historic sexual and physical abuse on inmates at a County Durham young offenders’ centre have submitted 32 files to the CPS for charging advice.

In August 2013 Durham Constabulary announced it was opening a new investigation – ‘Operation Seabrook’ - into allegations from ex-inmates of Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett.

The ex-detainees were all in their teens when they were sent to Medomsley at various dates from the 1960’s to when the centre closed in 1988, for what were often relatively minor offences.

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

Previous police investigations in 2003 and 2005 led to the conviction and jailing of Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson, former members of staff at the centre, who have since died.

 
Since August 2013, a total of 1,396 men have contacted the Operation Seabrook team to report they were victims of either sexual or physical assaults. Of the sexual reports, approximately two-thirds have said they were sexually assaulted by either Husband or Johnson.

In November 2014 police began the process of interviewing ex-members of staff who worked at Medomsley during the 1960s and through to the 1980s.

While several have died in the intervening years, 32 suspects have been identified. All have now been spoken to, the majority as voluntary attenders at local police stations.

The officer leading Operation Seabrook, Temporary Detective Superintendent Steve Chapman said the investigation remains focused around its original objectives.

“We now have a significant understanding of how Medomsley Detention Centre operated during that time and we have ensured victims have been fully updated on the investigation so far. Counselling and professional support has also been available to anyone who needed help, and I am really pleased that so many people have taken us up on this offer,” he said.

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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.

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Files submitted on 32 suspects in young offenders' centre 'abuse' inquiry

Police have identified 32 suspects

2 February 2017 11:15AM
Detectives investigating hundreds of allegations of sexual and physical abuse at a young offenders' centre have identified 32 suspects who may be charged.

Since August 2013, Durham Police have run Operation Seabrook into claims from 1,396 ex-inmates of Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett.

The force has put forward cases to the Crown Prosecution Service which will offer charging advice in the coming months.

The inmates were in their teens when they were sent to the centre for what were often minor offences which typically now would be dealt with in the community.

The alleged offences date from the 1960s to when Medomsley closed in 1988.

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

Previous police investigations in 2003 and 2005 led to the conviction and jailing of Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson, former members of staff who have since died.

Operation Seabrook has looked at more allegations involving these two and other members of staff.

Durham Police said of the men claiming sexual abuse, approximately two thirds said they were assaulted by either Husband or Johnson.

Detectives identified other staff they wanted to speak to and while some had died, they managed to interview others.

The force has now identified 32 suspects.

All have now been spoken to, the majority as voluntary attenders at local police stations.

The officer leading Operation Seabrook, Temporary Detective Superintendent Steve Chapman said: "We now have a significant understanding of how Medomsley Detention Centre operated during that time and we have ensured victims have been fully updated on the investigation so far.

"Counselling and professional support has also been available to anyone who needed help, and I am really pleased that so many people have taken us up on this offer.

“While 32 advice files have now been submitted to the CPS, the investigation team constantly reviews all new material which enters the incident room, and this number may increase.
"We hope to have specific charging decisions sometime in the summer.

“I am really pleased with the progress of this investigation so far and the dedication of both the investigators and the Crown Prosecution Service in working together to ensure all available evidence is considered in the lead up to decisions being made.”  

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