Paedophile ring uncovered by Durham Police investigating Medomsley detention centre

The senior investigating officer believes that there are many more victims than they previously thought

Police investigating sexual abuse at the Medomsley detention centre in Durham believe they have uncovered an organised paedophile ring which operated in the 1970s and 1980s, it has been reported. 

Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry, the senior investigating officer leading the 70-officer strong inquiry into the abuse claims, told the Guardian that they are now looking into a complex paedophile ring.

He added that many more victims are thought to have been affected than previously thought.

“We always knew this would be a major inquiry but the scale of it, and the sheer number of victims who have come forward, has been a shock.”

He told the newspaper that the team has also found evidence of a “brutal regime where violence was both extreme and routine.”

The officers aim to pursue prosecutions against the people who committed offences, some of which reportedly occurred over 40 years ago.

Almost 100 men have already come forward as victims and had started to receive therapy.

Police officers had thought that two men who were imprisoned for abusing boys and have since died, Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson, were “bad apples” at the centre.

Husband was imprisoned for eight years in 2003 for sexually abusing five young male inmates between 1977 and 1984, and had his sentence increased in 2005 when new victims came forward and he admitted to attacking four more boys.

Following an investigation by the newspaper, it later emerged that Husband had raped boys at the centre on a daily basis for over 15 years.

Storeman Leslie Johnson was jailed for similar offences in 1977, according to the newspaper.

But the latest findings led Durham Police to believe that Husband was part of a group of paedophiles who systematically preyed on vulnerable teenagers, particularly those who had been in care and did not have family who would visit them.

Goundry told the Guardian his officers had been shocked and sickened at evidence given by former inmates.

"From the statements, there is growing evidence to suggest there was an organised paedophile ring operating in Medomsley. This will form a major part of our operation and future discussions with the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service]."

He added that the purpose of the investigation was to encourage victims to come forward, to prosecute abusers, and to give victims after-care.

Many of the men who suffered abuse were detained for petty crimes, but some were so severely affected by abuse that they have been unable to work or leave their homes. 

The team is also investigating physical abuse and the allegedly culture of violence at the centre.

Anyone with information which may assist the inquiry can contact Durham police on 101 or 0345 60 60 365.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links