Saturday, 26 May 2007


A leading MP has called for a public inquiry into the sexual abuse suffered by inmates at a North East detention centre. On Tuesday, a Chronicle probe revealed shocking evidence about the targeting of young offenders at Medomsley Detention Centre in the 1970s and 1980s. The scandal of the `short, sharp, shock' centre, in Consett, County Durham, emerged when ex-kitchen officer Neville Husband was convicted of molesting a string of boys. But papers unearthed by us provided a catalogue of fresh revelations. We told how married father-of-one Husband, 69, of Shotley Bridge, Durham, had been probed for importing child pornography 10 years before working at Medomsley, and prison officer police statements told how they suspected Husband was abusing boys but were afraid to speak up to bosses. Tyneside North MP Stephen Byers has a victim of Husband's brutal regime living in his constituency, and this has led to him pressing the Home Office for a fresh probe into what happened at Medomsley. In a question to Parliament, Mr Byers wrote: "To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will establish an independent and public inquiry into the abuse of inmates at the Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham between 1970 and 1990." Mr Byers has been told there are a number of compensation claims being lodged against the Home Office by victims of Husband, which means an inquiry will not be launched at this stage. But he also wants a review of the law which governs when child sex abuse victims can launch compensation bids. He has lodged a second question to the Lord Chancellor, set to be answered on Tuesday, which reads: "If he will review the provisions of the Limitations Act 1980 in so far as they apply to victims of child sexual abuse." There have already been wrangles over the Limitation Act in relation to abuse suffered at Medomsley. Victim Kevin Young, of Jarrow, South Tyneside, has waived his right to anonymity to speak out. He was brutally targeted by Husband in 1977 while serving a three-month sentence. Mr Young was granted the right to pursue a compensation claim by Leeds Crown Court in November. But last month, an appeal court judge over-ruled the decision, saying too much time had passed between him knowing about the assault and lodging a claim. Now he hopes pressure from MPs will help bring about a change in the law and get justice for him and other victims. Mr Young said: "I have always said, it's not about money or anything like that. "It's about getting accountability for what went on. I believe people knew what was going on in there but did nothing. "Also, I should never even have met Husband because he shouldn't have been working as a crown officer after being investigated for importing child pornography. "Although he was not prosecuted back in 1967, this clearly showed he had an unhealthy interest in young men sexually." Our investigation revealed Husband had claimed he was writing a book about homosexuality when he was caught with the pornography. Other revelations include he had regular shipments of pornography sent to Medomsley. We also lifted the lid on the fact a second officer was convicted of assaulting another inmate. "After Husband was taken down to the cells ready to go to prison, at the end of his trial, the judge Esmond Faulks had it in his power to have those who were in charge of Medomsley Detention Centre arrested, as well as all those officers who knew what was happening and did nothing to stop it, deciding to destroy all evidence of his crimes and cover up any link back to husband." Blog "THE LAW AND EVIDENCE" Mr Young, 45, said: "I've said from the start, this is not about money. It is about the principle that people knew this was going on but nothing was done about it. The experience left him mentally scarred, and he was determined to help bring his tormentors to justice. This started when police officers asked him to tell his story back in 1998 as part of the operation rose years ago. The evidence and testimonies of the many victims and other prison officers from Medomsley at the time Neville Husband was there, were instrumental in bringing him to justice. Jurors heard how Husband used intimidation and fear to ensure the silence of his detention centre victims, all from damaged backgrounds. Judge Esmond Faulks told him: "Their fear of you caused them to submit to your unwelcome attentions and this was in my judgement a gross breach of trust. You and others like you helped cause their damaged personalities. Until now they never thought anyone would believe them. After the case, Det Insp Simon Orton, who led the Durham Police investigation, said he was delighted by the outcome of the case. “It is clear this man feasted himself on these young men who were in his charge," he said. "I hope that this will bring closure for the victims. I have no doubt in my mind their lives will always be affected by what happened in Medomsley. My thoughts are very much with the victims still. DI Orton said: "He has never acknowledged any guilt." “They have been very brave." Following the news coverage of his first trial, that Neville Husband was called back to court. More than seven new victims had come forward, and he eventually pleaded guilty and what’s more dropped his appeal against his original 10 year sentence. Tim Newell was Governor from 1979 to 1981 at Medomsley. He was at Grendon prison as well as the architect of the restorative justice reforms. He says in his statement… “About five years after leaving Medomsley I was on a course at the Prison Training College at Wakefield, when I bumped into a Medomsley colleague John McBee. John told me that Neville had to leave the service over an allegation that he had abused a boy.” That would make it around 1985/86 when Husband, “Had to leave the service over an allegation that he had abused a boy.” In 1985/86, after being forced to leave Medomsley then got a promotion to senior officer at the Frankland Maximum security prison in Co Durham. Martin Narey was the governor at the Frankland from 1986 to 89, and the governor when Husband was promoted to a senior officer as ‘punishment’ for being caught sexually abusing boys. "Public Relations" Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will establish an independent and public inquiry into the abuse of inmates at the Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham between 1970 and 1990. [69466] Mr. Sutcliffe[holding answer 9 May 2006]: The Government are aware of outstanding civil claims relating to abuse of prisoners at the Medomsley detention centre which closed in 1983. While these civil actions are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment on any calls for a public inquiry. Gerry Sutcliffe, parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Home Office is aware of outstanding civil claims relating to abuse of prisoners at the Medomsley detention centre which closed in 1983. His view is that while these civil actions are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment on any calls for a public inquiry. “A cash boost in May this year thanks to £1.25million funding for voluntary and community organisations throughout England and Wales, announced Home Office Minister Gerry Sutcliffe. "Sexual crimes can result in high levels of distress and can be the most damaging physically and emotionally. This funding will help to ensure that victims of these terrible offences have timely access to advice, information, care and counselling that meets their individual needs no matter where they are in the country. "I am determined that the needs of victims of crime must be better met and this funding is part of a wider programme of Government initiatives to put the needs of those affected by crime central in the criminal justice system." This is what Gerry Sutcliff says in public; however when in private he is as bad as the abusers. He is allowing the suffering of all the victims from Medomsley to continue, and has failed to respond adequately to calls for a public inquiry into Medomsley Detention Centre and the decades of sexual torture many young kids were put through. The sexual abuse of a child is a uniquely horrible crime, because it destroys the child's sense of him or herself and undermines the capacity to trust. The fact that this crime is usually carried trusted and respected adults of some standing, makes the damage worse. Mr. Young, says that it is not just him, but other Medomsley claimants are still locked in an ongoing high court case against the Home Office. Mr Young, from York, said: "I saw some things that nobody should have to see as a young person. Governors of the Medomsley Detention Centre and their senior management "were aware of what was happening" at the centre and "failed to stop or act upon, in accordance with the prison protocols of that time." Many if not all of the vulnerable youths were from broken homes and fractured backgrounds. They took on the baggage of being in the care system, where they were also sexually and physically abused, not to mention ill educated. This was the only alternative to being looked after by the church. And we all know where that leads. In fact the Medomsley Detention Centre annual report of 1977 says it all... 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." I believe Husband had access to all the records about the inmates he chose to serve in his kitchen; he used these to great effect. I also believe that he was not!! allowed to have access to these private documents that were for the eyes of the governor and senior officers only ad he would use these to make his decision on who he could abuse. Who has little contact with the outside world? Who doesn’t have parents? How many come directly from the care system or had abusive parents? In Medomsley, we would start work early as we had to get all the breakfasts ready for all the other inmates. Husband would always be there, almost superimposed on every synapse of each young mind in his charge. He had enormity and presence in his own kingdom. I’ll not bother telling you how breakfasts were in Medomsley … sufficed to they were fast! Everything worked that way in places like that. Once you were at work, Husband would make an excuse to get past you while you were, lets say, tending the potato peeling machine. As he did so he would press his penis towards your backside fleetingly then carry on what he was doing. On the way back he would do the same thing only with more gusto, and we all knew what might follow. He would sense everything from the initial contact in the dining hall, where he would inspect the newest intake to the centre that day, and then he’d choose who would work in the kitchen. All his victims were threatened with their lives. Neville Husband laid claim to being in the Military and was trained to kill. “You could disappear in places like this and nobody would ever know.” “You could be buried in the bottom sports field and nobody would care.” "Betrayal" The UK's most vulnerable children are being "betrayed" by a care system that is guilty of a catalogue of failings, according to a damning report. The majority of young people leaving institutions are destined to become prostitutes, homeless or spend time in prison, the study states. Harriet Sergeant, author of ‘Handle with Care: an investigation into the care system’, said: "It is not just a tragedy for the individual. A successful system of care would transform this country. "At a stroke it would empty a third of our prisons. It would halve the number of prostitutes, reduce by between a third and a half the number of homeless and remove 80% of Big Issue sellers from our street corners. "Not only is our system failing the young people in care, it is failing society and perpetuating an underclass." The report says that out of the 6,000 people who leave care on average every year, 75% (4,500) will have no educational qualifications and within two years 50% will be unemployed, while 20% (1,200) will be homeless. Just one out of a hundred will make it to university. In the year ending March 31 2005, 60,900 children were taken in care - most placed with foster parents or in children's homes. Failings of the care system included children being moved among foster carers too often, and homes focusing on short-term containment rather then the long-term well-being of the youngsters. The report concluded the system should be reformed to provide "secure, stable, long-term and loving care for difficult children". New initiatives that might help children should be explored and young people should be tracked after leaving care in order to build up a true picture of how the system was working, it added. Hugh Bayley MP for York is supporting Mr Young in calling for a full and independent inquiry into the sexual abuse of inmates at the Medomsley Detention Centre... "Hypocrisy" One would think the Crown and its employees could not act with absolute carelessness and abandon. One would think that it has sufficient morals of the sort that bind humanity together, yet the above comments show that this is far from the truth. Even today, despite the sector’s growth in statistical knowledge and greater education, young people are still not tracked after leaving care. A public servant is allowed to continue sexually assaulting children with absolute and total impunity. The authorities, being in full knowledge of these horrors are allowed to escape liability for the damage done whilst simultaneously, those same authorities don’t hesitate to punish a child for stealing a watch. It is clear from what has happened, that carelessness and abandon are words that do describe the actions of the Crown and those public servants who are only there at all because they have our trust. We the undersigned hope that you can bring these matters to light in an effective way. This will make a difference not only to us, but the thousands of other abuse survivors whose abuse originated from being in the care of government institutions. To this end, we will be cooperative in any projects you wish to propose that we feel are for the greater good. Kevin Young suffered at the hands of Husband, while he was serving a short sentence at the Medomsley Detention Centre, Consett, Co Durham in 1977. The Home Office ran the detention centre where Husband worked. Mr Young decided to take the authorities to task, and despite the Home Office’s attempt to block the move, Mr Young won his hearing in Leeds against the Home Office last year. This case is now a landmark legal case that allows Kevin Young to launch a bid for compensation. The Home Office tried to get the case thrown out, and their plea was that too much time has passed since the crimes occurred. This has customarily worked well as a defence for child abusers in the past, as the 1980 Limitation Act states claims for compensation need to be lodged three years after attacks took place. But Mr Young's legal team argued there was provision for people to lodge claims three years after the "date of knowledge". Abuse victims may not realise how badly they have been harmed until years after the attacks took place. "Manifestly unjust and oppressive" The current laws of statute in the United Kingdom are “Manifestly unjust and oppressive” because it not only continues the victimisation of all survivors of sexual abuse, it helps influential high ranking professionals and the people that serve them to manipulate the law and favour their friends and employees when and if they have litigation levied against them as well as to keep these malfeasant dysfunctional people from the public’s knowledge allowing them to continue abusing the young and vulnerable. This is clearly seen in the young v Catholic Care & Home office, case when Edward Faulks QC attempted to snip a little bit off the top of one statute and stick it onto another so he could have the statute the way he wanted it. However one of the judges says you cant just remove part of a statute and attach it to another “It doesn’t work like that.” Here we are sitting in a courtroom listening to this man trying to protect the church and the home office at all costs when all the time he knew that the facts of the case were true and with his statement at the very beginning of the proceedings “We neither accept nor do we deny the offences took place,” Strange thing to say when there has been two trials and guilty plea’s handed to a crown court and the perpetrator of the crimes is in prison serving 10 years.. "Minister for Constitutional Affairs, David Lammy" THE Home Office and Roman Catholic Church are appealing against a York abuse victim's landmark legal victory. Kevin Young was allowed by a judge last autumn to press ahead with suing the two organisations over alleged abuse at two children's homes, including one near Tadcaster. But the decision, which could pave the way for thousands of other abuse victims to sue for compensation, will be overturned if the Government and church succeed at a Court of Appeal hearing later this year. Their appeal is based on the 1980 Limitation Act, under which claims for compensation need to be lodged within three years of an incident. Mr Young, 45, successfully argued at Leeds County Court that he had been so badly affected psychologically by assaults that he had not fully realised the significance of any injury until much later. His solicitor, David Greenwood, argued there was provision in the Act to allow people to pursue claims from a "date of knowledge". Lawyers for Catholic Care, in the Diocese of Leeds, say in their skeleton argument to the Court of Appeal that the case raised important questions about the proper approach to limitation in abuse cases, and argue that the judge reached the wrong conclusions. But Mr Young said he was winning growing support from senior MPs for a change in the limitations law in abuse cases. York MP Hugh Bayley told him he had written to the then Minister for Constitutional Affairs, David Lammy, to support such changes, which had been recommended by the Law Commission several years before. Mr Bayley has now written to Mr Lammy's successor, Bridget Prentice, to find what progress has been made in implementing the Law Commission's recommendations. The MP said in his letter to the minister that the Government had accepted the recommendations in principle in July 2002, and that he understood legislation would be introduced when a "suitable legislative opportunity arises." Mr Young, who works for, was abused by Neville Husband while he was serving a short sentence at Medomsley Detention Centre in the north-east in 1977 for burglary and handling stolen goods. Husband was jailed in 2003. Mr Young's claim against Catholic Care, of the church's Leeds diocese, is based on allegations he was abused while staying in the 1970s at St Camillus, a children's home at Scarthingwell, near Tadcaster, for which the church had responsibility. He said his aim in taking on the case is not just about winning damages, but to establish the Statute of Limitations should not be allowed to prevent victims of child abuse seeking damages later on in their lives. Updated: 09:42 Wednesday, March 08, 2006

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