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Medomsley officers guilty



County Durham

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Five officers have been convicted of assaults on young inmates at a youth detention centre in County Durham.

Durham Constabulary’s investigation in to the abuse has been of the largest of it’s kind in the UK after 1,676 men came forward.

Teesside Crown Court heard violence at the Medomsley detention centre, during the 60s, 70s and 80s, was used for “enjoyment”.

The five men carried out attacks on the young boys on a regular basis leaving them severely bruised and bleeding, and in some cases, with broken bones and unconscious.

Detective Chief Superintendent Adrian Green has been leading the investigation.

He said, “It’s never ending for those individuals, and one of the important things is that this has allowed them to have a voice for them to be heard.
“Some of these people, many of these people, are very very badly damaged by what occurred and that’s devastated their lives.”

The detention centre near Consett was set up to keep young offenders out of prison and away from the influence of older criminals.

But the court heard how these teenagers were subject to routine violence and mistreatment by these men.

One young prisoner was raped in the kitchen by Neville Husband, who, back in 2003, was jailed for sexually abusing 9 boys at Medomsley. He has since died.

The inmate tried to tell the officer in charge of physical training what had happened to him, but his response was to beat him up, and tell him to never mention it again.

That officer was Christopher Onslow, who’s now 72.
Another former inmate told the jury the boys would often self harm, and even try and break their legs, so they could avoid facing Onslow in the gym.

He threw rocks at another prisoner causing him to fall, which crushed three of his vertebrae. He was in a body cast for several weeks.

Another of Onslow’s victims suffered a broken ankle after he’d slammed a medicine ball on to it.
A different guard, 74 year old John McGee, forced one of his victims to remove his underwear and “bunny hop” to the showers, dragging, kicking and punching him as he went.

He was described by one former detainee as the “most feared officer”.

McGee and Oslow were both found not guilty of sexual offences against young offenders, along with 71 year old Brian Greenwell.

All of them plus former officers 67 year old Kevin Blakeley and 70 year old Alan Bramley have been convicted of misconduct in a public office by assaulting and abusing prisoners.

Detective Chief Superintendent Green said it’s likely others kept quiet about it:
“There must have been people at Medomsley who knew that physical and potentially sexual abuse was occurring. Shame on them, that’s what I say.

They should have intervened. They were there to intervene, and I struggle with this number of individuals and the number of people who have had allegations made that people didn’t know something was very wrong at Medomsley.”

Two more men , 63 year old David McClure and 62 year old Neil Sowerby, were cleared of all offences including misconduct in a public office, buggery and indecent assault.