Medomsley Detention Centre operated near Consett, County Durham between 1960 and 1987 for 17-21 year old male detainees.
A regime developed which was referred to as “short sharp shock” designed to keep offenders out of mainstream prisons.
Unfortunately it was not long before allegations emerged of physical abuse and then allegations of sexual abuse committed by prison officers on some inmates.
In 2003 one of the prison officers Neville Husband who ran the kitchens at Medomsley, assisted by young males, he often personally selected, was convicted of sex attacks on inmates and sentenced to 8 years in prison. In 2005 his sentence was increased to 10 years after new victims came forward and he pleaded guilty to attacks on four other boys.
Another Medomsley officer, Leslie Johnson, was convicted in 2005 for sexual offences and jailed for 6 years. Both Johnson and Husband have since died.
In August 2013 Durham Constabulary launched Operation Seabrook, a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by staff against detainees at Medomsley Detention Centre. To date over 1,500 men have contacted Durham Constabulary about abuse suffered.
On 19 December 2017 seven former officers appeared before Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court facing various charges including misconduct in public office and physical abuse. Four of the men also faced charges of sexual abuse including buggery. No pleas were entered and the cases were transferred to the Crown Court at Middlesbrough to be heard on 16 January 2018. In the event of not guilty pleas it is expected a trial will take place in mid-2018.
Ben Hoare Bell act for over 500 former Medomsley inmates who are pursing claims for compensation for abuse suffered at Medomsley Detention Centre. To date we have achieved settlement on a number of cases involving sexual abuse. It is hoped physical abuse cases can be progressed further once the current criminal proceedings are concluded.