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Tuesday, 3 September 2013
"Medomsley Heroes Still Fighting For Justice" Part 7
Detention centre paedophile ring inquiry: 'Net closing' as new witness gives police key evidence
The brave victim is one of 20 former inmates who have contacted detectives to help expose the abusers, after appeals in the Mirror
A new witness has given police key evidence to support claims of a borstal paedophile ring suspected of raping hundreds of boys.
The brave victim is one of 20 former inmates of the Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham who have contacted detectives to help expose the abusers, after appeals in the Mirror.
Police refused to acknowledge claims of a paedophile ring after prison officer Neville Husband and another man were jailed for the mass rape of boys.
But speaking last night, the witness – who wishes to remain anonymous – said: “I’ve spoken to police after seeing the stories about other victims.
"Until then I thought I was the only one. I was sexually abused at Medomsley, and it was not by Neville Husband.
“He’d left by the time I’d arrived. That place was a living hell.”
Campaigning MP Michael McCann said: “The net is closing. I hope those involved are having sleepless nights.”
The witness told how the borstal was separated into dorms with bunk beds and prison guards entered the rooms at night to abuse boys.
His evidence could even confirm a police cover-up which fooled other officers and prosecutors and led to a continuation of the abuse.
He said: “You wouldn’t be able to sleep. You’d stare at the door all night, praying it wouldn’t open. They’d come in and abuse boys. Everyone lived in fear that if you spoke up they’d target you. Every day I got punched and kicked by guards.
“But there was one in particular. A real bully. He would pin me up against the wall and fondle me.
“He’s the one I’d remember. The police have photographs of them all and I’m confident I’ll be able to pick him out.”
The victim left Medomsley but never reported it to police – and until recent coverage in the Mirror, he thought he was the only lad abused there.
He tried to commit suicide several times, even throwing himself into a river only to be dragged out by police.
He said: “My life fell apart. Whoever I was died in that place, and someone different came out. But now I realise I wasn’t alone. And that is some comfort.”
Durham Police have now gathered photographs of every serving prison officer at Medomsley throughout the 70s and 80s, when hundreds were raped and sexually abused.
Detectives plan to sit the new witness in front of a photobank where he will be able to pick out the members of the paedophile ring.
The investigation was reopened after victim John McCabe, from East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, persisted with his claims that Husband and another man, storeman Leslie Johnson, were not acting alone.
Police now fear a ring of up to four prison officers were involved – as well as attackers from outside the jail.
Some boys were taken off prison premises to be sexually abused at a location which the CPS has asked the Mirror not to disclose.
The witness, now married and in his 40s, was at Medomsley from October 1985.
Husband had left the borstal the year before and was transferred to another prison after being promoted.
Following his arrival, the new prison received allegations of sex abuse.
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 victims between 1974 and 1984.
The male inmates, aged between 16 and 19, had been picked by Husband to work in the kitchens.
He was jailed for sexual abuse along with storeman Leslie Johnson in 2003. Both men are now dead.
Police believe there were hundreds more who fell prey to the paedophile ring. The hunt is now on to catch the abusers who have evaded justice for more than 20 years.
Medomsley closed in the late 1980s after the abuse came to light and has reopened as a secure training centre.
A source close to the investigation said: “The police now have a dedicated Medomsley team looking into those who suffered sexual abuse and those who suffered other violent attacks.”
'This evidence could be a major breakthrough'
Labour MP Michael McCann campaigned for a police probe into Medomsley after victim John McCabe told him of the horrors.
And he is convinced the latest evidence is vital. He said: “This could be a major breakthrough.
"As well as the information that the Daily Mirror has uncovered the police have also been contacted by other victims.”
Mr McCabe, who has waived his right to anonymity, said: “It only goes to show it wasn’t just Neville Husband involved.
"This man’s story and evidence is going to confirm that even when Husband had left that more prison officers were still abusing.
“It opens up a new era regarding the investigation. When you take out Husband and Johnson from the picture, then it makes the abuse even wider.
“It just goes to show there was a paedophile ring. These men should be tracked down, caught and put into prison.
"They must be held accountable and prosecuted, it doesn’t matter what age they are. Even if they are really old.”
Call Durham Police on 101, or the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000, or firstname.lastname@example.org with information.