Police quiz former detention centre staff amid abuse claims

Detectives investigating allegations of historical sexual and physical abuse on inmates at County Durham Young Offenders' Centre have begun interviewing former staff.

The alleged abuse took place between the 1960s and when the centre closed in 1988.

Since August last year, 915 former inmates have contacted police to report they were the victims of physical or sexual assaults.

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Detention centre victim expects more to come forward

The man whose allegations of historical abuse at a Home Office-run young offenders' centre in County Durham has led to hundreds more former detainees reporting their own abuse has said he expects "more will come forward".

Abuse victim John McCabe told ITV News he was "not surprised" that more than 900 men have come forward after the launch of a special police investigation into the defunct Medomsley Detention Centre in August 2013, which has led to former prison staff being interviewed under caution.

ITV News North of England Correspondent Damon Green reports:

Up to 70 detectives involved in detention centre probe

Up to 70 detectives have been involved in the investigation into alleged physical and sexual abuse at a former detention centre in County Durham, police have confirmed.

Det Supt Paul Goundry, who is leading Durham Constabulary's Operation Seabrook, said there was "still a huge amount of work which has to be done" in the investigation.

He confirmed his team had been in "close contact" with the Crown Prosecution Service, who will ultimately decide if there are grounds to charge individuals with criminal offences.


Detention centre abuse probe moving to 'suspect stage'

The detective leading the investigation into alleged historical abuse at a now-defunct County Durham detention centre has told ITV News his team has gathered all the information needed to move to the "suspect stage".

Durham Constabulary's Det Supt Paul Goundry said his team had formally interviewed nearly all of the 915 former detainees that reported being victims of sexual or physical abuse and had built up a clear picture of how Medomsley Detention Centre operated for the 25 years it was open.

Victims praised for 'courage' in reporting alleged abuse

Police have praised the "courage" of the hundreds of alleged victims of historical abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham in reporting their claims to detectives.

The officer leading Operation Seabrook said almost 200 of the 915 men who have contacted Durham Constabulary had taken up the offer of counselling and professional support following their call.

Many of those who have contacted us had never revealed to anyone else what had happened to them at Medomsley all those years ago. It has been a traumatic experience for some, and I appreciate their courage in coming forward and making that initial call.

A principal aim was to identify a number of people we needed to speak to about the allegations that have been made. The actions we are now taking are crucial to that aspect of the operation, and there are a number of other former employees we will be making contact with over the next few weeks.

– Det Supt Paul Goundry

Police said counselling and support for victims of Medomsley remains available via the local Sexual Assault Referral Centre, known as The Meadows, on 0191 301 8554.

Four ex-staff members interviewed amid abuse claims

The investigation into alleged historical sexual and physical abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham comes a decade after an earlier investigation that led to the conviction and jailing of two former members of staff, Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson, who have since died.

Durham Constabulary said around one third of the 915 men who had contacted the latest investigation, which is named Operation Seabrook, reported being sexually assaulted by either Husband or Johnson.

The Operation Seabrook team has questioned four former members of staff who were prison officers at Medomsley during the 1970s and 1980s and have since retired, police confirmed.

All four were interviewed under caution, but not arrested, and could be interviewed again in future.

Ex-staff probed over historical detention centre abuse

Former prison staff are being interviewed as part of an investigation into more than 900 claims of alleged historical sexual and physical abuse on inmates at a young offenders' centre in County Durham.

Durham Constabulary said 915 men had contacted officers claiming they were abused at Medomsley Detention Centre since the investigation was established in August 2013.

The ex-detainees were all in their teens when they were sent, for often relatively minor offences, to Medomsley from the 1960s until the centre closed in 1988, where they spent around six to eight weeks before being released.


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