Saturday, 26 May 2007

grim revelations

Grim revelations today lift the lid on the shocking scale of sex abuse at a former North East Borstal. It was meant to give young offenders a short, sharp shock. Instead, many were left scarred for life, haunted by a brutal catalogue of sex attacks. The abuse of inmates at the Medomsley Detention Centre, in Consett, County Durham, came to light when former kitchen officer Neville Husband was convicted of molesting a string of young lads in the 1970s and 1980s. But today, fresh revelations expose the shocking scale of the abuse suffered behind the bars of the now-closed juvenile jail. Secret papers obtained by the Chronicle state that prison officers suspected married father-of-one Husband was preying on inmates but did nothing. Documents hidden for nearly 40 years reveal Husband, who went on to become a church minister in Gateshead, had been investigated for importing child pornography a decade before he staged his attacks. Statements by ex-colleagues tell how the 69-year-old, currently serving a 10-year jail term, had regular shipments of hardcore porn sent to him at Medomsley. And a second officer was also convicted of indecently assaulting a male prisoner, who had been introduced to him by Husband, of Shotley Bridge. The pair continued to visit and abuse the same boy after he was released from custody. Transcripts of police interviews also reveal thousands of indecent pictures of children were found on computers seized from Husband's home and his United Reformed Church office. Medomsley Detention Centre was built in 1898 but wasn't acquired by the Prison Commission until 1959. Employing just 11 staff, a 1977 inspection report described Medomsley as `Dickensian' and read: "The detention centre has never hit the headlines and within the Prison Department has apparently been accepted as a place where nothing of any import ever occurs and one which is unlikely to cause any problems." Husband, now dubbed the `Medomsley monster', worked at the jail as a kitchen officer. After 27 years in the prison service, he became a United Reformed Church minister in Gateshead in 1994. But it was not until 2001 that his perverted past came back to haunt him. Previously silenced by shame, some of his victims spoke out about the ordeal they suffered decades earlier. Husband was convicted by a Newcastle Crown Court jury of molesting five boys and jailed for eight years. Publicity surrounding the trial encouraged others to come forward and he was jailed for a further two years on additional charges. But now we can reveal Husband's depraved interest in young boys was apparent years earlier. A report reveals police probed Husband for importing homosexual pornographic pictures while working at a borstal in Dorset. The document, signed by the governor of HM Borstal Portland, reads: "The police showed me sample photographs of men in obscene and lewd postures, a signed order form and a signed cheque for 20/- which they allege was sent to an address in Sweden by Officer Husband. "The police interviewed Officer Husband at Portland police station and he admitted sending for a series of photographs, the sample of the series he ordered pictured two naked men, apparently engaged in homosexual activity. Immediately following the police interview Husband saw me privately and informed me of the statement he had made to the police. He told me - and the police - that he was considering writing a book on homosexuality and he had sent for the photos to assist to this end. Officer Husband is a good cook and baker, a married man with one child, buff, hearty and something of a comedian." A second document dated July 1967 reveals no further action was taken by the police and Husband was allowed to continue working with children in the prison service. The allegations made against him in 1967 were brought up again when he was quizzed regarding sex abuse claims in 2001. We have accessed a transcript of a police interview with Husband, during which he admits the pornography he imported showed images of children. An officer from Consett police station asks him: "And I understand that while you were in Portland, an investigation took place regarding you importing pornographic pictures of teenage boys, is that correct?" Husband replies: "There was, yes there was." Seconds later, Husband, who claimed he was writing a book about homosexuality, adds: "The pornography at that time was, it was soft porn, but again I wasn't aware that it was boys because you got sent what you got sent." The deputy governor at Portland while Husband was investigated, James Millar Reid, went on to become the governor at Medomsley. Statements given to police by prison officers who worked with Husband suggest suspicions were rife about his cravings for young boys, who he went on to molest in the kitchens he ran. One by an officer who served at Medomsley in 1978, reads: "I don't know why but all the governors thought very highly of Husband and seemed to look after him. "For example, on a regular basis on rotation we would thoroughly search various areas within the centre. This was to look for cigarettes and alcohol. All main areas of the prison were searched except for the kitchen area. The prison management would not allow anyone but Husband to have access to the kitchen area." After Husband left Medomsley, a search of the kitchen quarters discovered sex toys, pornography and rubber underwear in a filing cabinet. Victims' statements, many of which are too distressing for us to print, detail how Husband abused them in the kitchen area. The officer's statement adds: "There were always very strong rumours that Neville Husband was homosexual and that he was sexually abusing boys who were working with him in the kitchen. This was general knowledge among staff and boys in the centre. "On a night time Husband would usually keep one boy back with him after the others had been dismissed and we all felt sorry for that boy. Nobody reported their suspicions to anyone because Husband was so close to, and seemed to be supported by the governors and senior management." Another officer told how he had to take time off work because of Husband's "overbearing attitude" and that he was "too scared" to report rumours of him abusing boys. Our dossier also reveals Husband arranged for pornography to be sent to him. A statement given to police by one of his ex-colleagues reads: "For some time I was employed as a gate officer and was surprised to see Husband was receiving large quantities of post containing homosexual pornography. "Sometime the envelopes were not sealed and I used to look at the magazines and burn them without telling Husband. One package contained a video. I looked at this and found it was hardcore gay porn, again I burned it." A number of former Medomsley workers have told how Husband's closest friend in the jail was a store man called Leslie Johnston who has also been convicted of indecent assault on an inmate at the detention centre. He revealed this while being interviewed by police in the run-up to Husband's trial. It states: "After a while, Neville and I became quite good friends. We had a mutual interest in religion." He adds: "We joined the freemasons at Chop well and got on quite well together. We sometimes went out together with our wives to social functions." Johnston's statement went on: "At one stage I think Neville suggested that he had a lad working in the kitchen who he thought would be suitable to assist me in the stores department. Whilst XXXX was working with me in the stores I developed a sexual relationship with him." He adds: "As a result of this I was convicted at court of indecent assault and subsequently left the prison service." In the same statement, Johnston tells how he knew Husband had abused the same boy and that the pair both visited the victim once he had been released from prison. Husband was interviewed by police on a number of occasions. The transcript of one quiz, seen by us, tell how explicit videos of children were taken from his house in 1999. In September 2001, he was arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent photographs of children. His home PC, disks, zip-disks and a laptop from the United Reformed Church office on Cromer Avenue, Gateshead, had all been seized. During the interview, Husband is told detectives discovered thousands of indecent images of children, some of which were stored on disks labelled with phoney titles relating to church business. The Home Office declines to comment on our investigation. No-one at the United Reformed Church was available for comment. Victims of preacher Victims of Neville Husband today told of their horror at the revelations about his past. Kevin Young, of Jarrow, South Tyneside, suffered at the hands of Husband when he was sent to Medomsley for handling a stolen watch in 1977. Mr Young, now 45, was brutally targeted by Husband, including being photographed while he lay bound, blindfold, and naked. He said: "When I left that place I was shocked and shaken but I'm even more shocked and shaken at what has come out now. "These papers show officers saying things like `I felt sorry for that boy', but I don't think sorry is good enough." The true horror of the ordeal Mr Young suffered didn't hit him until he had a chance encounter with Husband in York in 1996. He bravely spoke out against the pervert preacher and after watching Husband get jailed for the attacks, he launched a bid for compensation against the Home Office. Despite winning a landmark legal victory allowing him to sue last November, the ruling was overturned earlier this month, meaning he will go without a penny. Now, dad-of-one Mr Young is calling for a full public inquiry into the case. Mr Young added: "The judge in November described this as a `serious case involving crown officers' and that's what it was. "The truth of the matter is I should never have been subjected to the attacks I was subjected to in light of what was known about him in 1967 in that he had an unhealthy interest in young boys." Mr Young is urging any other victims to contact his support group Another former inmate Richard Hall has also waived his right to anonymity to talk to the Chronicle. Mr Hall, now 43, of Heaton, Newcastle, was sexually abused and beaten senseless by Husband in 1980. Today, he said: "It never goes away but it's right these things come out because people need to know. "It seems from these papers that there are some people who might have suspected what was going on all along, which leaves a nasty taste to say the least. "It's the other victims who perhaps haven't come forward I worry about." Kevin young goes to say: Hi everyone, Hope all is well with you; I don’t really know where to start so I will start off by saying thank you for your support to all the victims of Neville Husband. As you may know on the 21 September 2005 Former Her Majesty’s Prison Officer Neville Husband jailed for sexually abusing vulnerable teenagers at a North detention centre has admitted further attacks on inmates. Husband was convicted in 2003 of indecently assaulting five boys while working as a prison officer at the now-closed Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett in the 1970's and 1980. Husband, denied the charges but was found guilty at Newcastle Crown Court and jailed for eight years. He later abandoned his appeal against conviction. He was due to stand trial at the same court yesterday accused of similar assaults on six other males at the centre after they came forward as a result of the first case. The trial was abandoned after he admitted sexually abusing four of the six all now in their 40s. Judge Esmond Faulks sentenced Husband to two years imprisonment to run consecutively to the eight he is already serving. Although the Judge gave Husband credit for his guilty pleas, which did save all victims the trauma of having to re-live their ordeal in the witness box, “we don’t believe that his pleading guilty was anything more than a time & cost cutting exercise.” But he told him: "In your care were boys often from broken homes, or with personality problems.” Instead of helping them overcome their problems, you took advantage of your position to sexually abuse a number of them with violence. It was a gross and wicked breach of trust which almost inevitably worsened whatever personality disorders they were suffering from in the first place. "It effectively amounts to a campaign of homosexual rape over many years involving nine boys at least. “He exploited his trust and power over them behind his badge of office." The court heard Husband used his position in charge of kitchens at the military-style detention centre near Consett to select victims, using fear and violence to ensure their silence. One of the latest four victims to come forward told how during one attack, Husband sexually assaulted him in a storeroom, holding a bread knife to his neck when he screamed. "Each of the victims has to a greater or lesser extent been left with deep and long lasting psychological scars. Many of his victims suffered countless assaults of the most dehumanising nature leaving them irreparably damaged; all are suffering with moderate to severe post traumatic disorder, persecution complexes, agoraphobia, and so many other psychological stressors it is hard to know where to begin. The British Home Office refuses to take any responsibilities for the actions of their servants for the torture of so many young men just starting out in their lives and yes it may well be said that we were bad lads when it would be more accurate to say ill educated, poverty stricken, emotionally lost and vulnerable. The case to date in just one instance has a bill of £81,000 while the legal aid board has just sent legal aid extension form out two weeks before the case comes to court in relation to the statues of limitations they have to decide whether to continue funding our cases. We are asking all of our friends out there in cyberspace to write a letter of support for us for when we go, letters of support to the judge, would help us we feel. We feel so low at the moment but we will keep fighting win at court or not, please send your letters of support to Where I can print them out to give to the judge. We would like to thank you for your ongoing support as well as for your letters to the judge, “I will make sure the judge reads them too.”

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