Medomsley Detention Centre abuse investigation reopens

Police have reopened a 10-year-old investigation into sexual abuse at a former County Durham detention centre, which saw two staff jailed.

Church minister Neville Husband, who worked at Medomsley juvenile detention centre as a prison officer and store man Leslie Johnson were jailed in 2003.

The pair, both now dead, were convicted of sexually abusing inmates.

Durham Police has now reopened the investigation after a former inmate claimed he was also abused.

John McCabe, from East Kilbride in Scotland, who has waived his right to anonymity, said he was also a victim of Husband at the now-closed institution.

Mr McCabe said the abuse took place 30 years ago when Husband recruited him to work in the kitchen, and that he also took him out of Medomsley, where he was raped by another man.

Durham detectives are now reinvestigating the claims and have appealed for any other abuse victims to come forward.

Det Supt Paul Goundry said: “The investigation will put victims at the heart of the inquiry, but at the same time we would like to hear from anyone who has new information about Medomsley and any abuse that occurred either inside, or when inmates were taken off-site.

“Those who carried out the abuse preyed on some very vulnerable young people and left many of them with mental scars which have lasted a lifetime.

Neville Husband was jailed for abusing male inmates in 2003

“While we contacted and took statements from a number of victims as part of this investigation, we believe there are others who for whatever reason have never come forward.

“It is those people we are now asking to contact us and pass on any information about what took place during their time at Medomsley, whether it happened at the centre or elsewhere.”

Medomsley closed in the late 1980s after the abuse came to light and has since reopened as a secure training centre.

During his 2003 trial, Newcastle Crown Court heard Husband, who became a minister in the United Reformed Church after 27 years in the prison service, had used his position of authority to systematically abuse his victims between 1974 and 1984.

The male inmates, who were aged between 16 and 19 at the time, had been picked by Husband to work in the kitchens, where he would sometimes “blatantly” indecently assault them or take them away for abuse in secret.

He was jailed for 12 years. Johnson was sentenced to six years at a separate trial.

We understand that it is not unusual for those who were subject to abuse to come forward later in life. If you or somebody you know were subject to abuse please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence.


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

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