The first report of abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre; a correctional facility for boys and young men aged 17-21, appeared in the media in 1967. It was a harrowing start to what would turn out to be one of the most prolific cases of child abuse in the UK.
In 2003, one of the prison officers at the centre; Neville Husband, was convicted of raping and abusing inmates throughout the 1970s and the 1980s. Along with this, Husband was suspected of operating as part of a paedophile ring, with investigations eventually resulting in the conviction of one of the care home’s storemen; Leslie Johnson.
Since the convictions, both men have died of natural causes. But today; more than 40 years since the abuse of vulnerable teenage boys began, more and more victims are coming forward to reveal the horror that they suffered at the hands of these criminals.
Though some of the victims have been paid compensation already, there are still questions as to how these men were able to get away with their crimes for so long – and why the police and prison system failed to act on their suspicious or notice the level of abuse.
One victim said, of Husband’s conviction: “I’ll never be over it. You only have one life and once it’s irreparably damaged, that’s it.” (1)
The abuse wasn’t just sexual, the same victim told The Guardian: “I saw him crushing one guy between two gates. He just kept doing it and laughing. Another time he put my hand in a hot pidi – a metal pie dish – and was pushing my hand down as he was fondling me.”
Since the case was reopened in August 2013, leading to 143 statements documenting the crimes within less than 12 months (2), the inquiry’s terms of reference have placed a bar on evidence. This bar, which victims are threatening to boycott (4), precludes the team from hearing evidence from men who were over 18 at the time of the abuse – though it will take into account any behaviour that commenced before the age of 18. (3)
At the time of the crimes, the age of consent for gay men was 21. John McCabe, one of the spokesmen for many of the alleged victims of Medomsley said of the bar: “We were sexually abused under the age of consent, so how can they say they cannot take evidence from more than 1,000 young people who were abused while in the care of the state?”
Since the inquiry began, no less than 1,350 former detainees of the notorious detention centre have claimed that they were abused.
We are representing victims and those affected by the horrific crimes that took place at Medomsley Detention Centre. And though the suffering caused at the hands of these criminals can never truly be compensated for, any financial implications that the events may have had on the career or working life of the victims, can be.
If you were a victim of either physical or sexual abuse at Medomsley, or any other care home, and you would like expert advice, Hampson Hughes may be able to help. Our expert Criminal Injuries & Sexual Abuse Team can ensure that your case will remain confidential, and can help to hold any guilty parties accountable. Call 0151 236 1222 for free, no obligation advice from our expert team or visit our Sexual Abuse Claims site for more information.