Saturday 7 March 2015

Operation Seabrook – Historic abuse investigation

Operation Seabrook is the continuing investigation being undertaken by Durham Constabulary regarding claims of historic sexual and physical abuse at the former Medomsley Detention Centre in Consett, Co. Durham. These offences took place principally between 1961 and its closure in 1987.
The victims were all in their ‘teens’ when they were sent to Medomsley at various dates from the 1960’s to when Medomsley closed in 1987, for what were often relatively minor offences. Previous police investigations in 2003 and 2005 (Op. Halter) led to the conviction and jailing of Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson, former members of staff at the centre who have since died.
In August 2013 a fresh investigation was launched into claims that young men sent to Medomsley Detention Centre, were subjected to abuse at the hands of prison staff.
So far the investigation has led to 1083 victims coming forward to report they were victims of either sexual or physical assaults. Calls have also come in from potential witnesses, as well as a small number of people ringing in with additional information.
Whilst the work to try and identify everyone named continues, so far 16 former members of the prison staff have been interviewed under caution regarding allegations of historic sexual and physical abuse on inmates. All were prison officers at Medomsley at different times during the time it was open who have since retired.
The identification of staff continues to prove challenging with many offenders only known by nickname or surname. More interviews will take place over the next few weeks with other ex-Medomsley prison officers.
Former inmates were transported to Medomsley from court by police officers who would have been conducting court duties at that time. Inmates were transported from surrounding force areas to Durham constabulary as well as other force areas further south.
IF YOU were one of these officers or have knowledge of a former police officer who escorted persons from court to Medomsley and you/they witnessed any type of abuse to those detainees by prison staff or are able to identify any former member of staff at the establishment can you please contact the Operation Seabrook team direct on 0191-3752879 or the Incident room on 101 (Durham) extn. 752237.

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