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Guilty: Former Guards Convicted of Abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre

Five staff members, at a former youth detention centre in County Durham, have been found guilty of the physical abuse of young prisoners in the 1970s and 1980s.

The men, who are now aged in their 60s and 70s, were convicted of multiple charges including assault, wounding and misconduct in public office.

They are: Christopher Onslow, 72; John McGee, 74, Brian Johnson Greenwell, 71, Kevin Blakely, 67 and Alan Bramley, 70. Neil Sewerby, 61 and David McClure, 63 were acquitted of all charges.

Jurors at Teesside Crown Court were told that the five men, who will be sentenced at a later date, committed much of the violence “for the enjoyment of the officers”.

Their convictions follow a series of trials resulting from Operation Seabrook, which was launched by Durham Police in 2013 and became one of the largest investigations of its kind in the UK.

Historic Sex Abuse at the Unit in County Durham

The latest convictions for physical abuse follow the previous conviction of another former staff member, Neville Husband, who was found guilty of multiple counts of sex abuse.

The ex officer was jailed in 2003 for abusing five teenagers at the former correctional facility. Other victims then came forward and in 2005 Husband admitted four more attacks.

Husband, who is at the centre of many more sex abuse claims, later died in 2010.

The Scale of the Abuse

Medomsley Detention Centre, which closed in 1988, was built in 1960 to house young offenders. At any one time it held about 70 young men, aged from 17 to 21, who were detained for relatively minor crimes.

Durham Police have said that 1,676 men have so far reported allegations of either sexual or physical assaults while detained at the centre and the investigation remains ongoing.

Det Ch Supt Adrian Green, who led the investigation, said:

“We have worked hard to ensure victims and survivors are listened to and supported throughout the investigation and subsequent court process.

“We appreciate that for the victims and survivors of abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre, it has taken courage to come forward and tell police what happened to them.”

Compensation for Victims

The BBC’s Inside Out programme has found that the Ministry of Justice has spent £3.6 million settling 237 compensation claims for sexual abuse committed by Neville Husband, the first officer to be found guilty of abuse at the centre.

What should I do next?

We suggest that you contact the police on  or email the Operation Seabrook team at , if you have not already done so, and report the matter to them.

Explain as much as possible about the events which took place and where possible, try and given them details of the staff involved, even if you only know their nicknames.

The police do have support structures in place to assist you with this difficult process. Please keep a careful note of any crime reference number you are given by the police.

How can Hampson Hughes Solicitors Can Help You?

If you have experienced physical or sexual abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre, and you would like expert advice, we can help you. It is never too late for us to consider a claim but you do need to act quickly.

Our experienced Criminal Injuries & Sexual Abuse Team is currently supporting those affected by the events at the former correctional facility in County Durham. We can consider either a claim against the Ministry of Justice, who ran the detention centre or alternatively, consider a Criminal Injuries compensation award on your behalf.

If you have been affected by sexual or physical abuse in another detention centre, children’s home or another institution run by the either the Ministry of Justice or Local authority, you may also be able to bring a case so please feel free to contact us.

We recognise how difficult it can be to discuss your experiences. Our experienced team will deal with your enquiry with sympathy, understanding and in complete confidence. For further information, please contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors on . You can also contact us via email on


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