We have recently recovered compensation for two former inmates of Medomsley Detention Centre for abuse they suffered there.
Medomsley Detention Centre near Durham was a prison for young male offenders until the late 1980s. The institution aimed to give young offenders a ‘short, sharp, shock’ to prevent them engaging in further criminal activities. However, young men were often incarcerated for relatively minor crimes and for many it was much more than a ‘short, sharp, shock’. The true horror of what life was like for those in Medomsley is difficult to comprehend, but it is clear that there was a pervasive culture of violence, humiliation and sexual abuse which left many inmates traumatised by their time there.
In 2019, former staff of Medomsley were convicted of physical abuse of inmates. This followed the conviction of Neville Husband in 2003 for the sexual abuse of inmates whilst he was employed at Medomsley Detention Centre. It is understood that over 1,800 people came forward to report suffering abuse during their time there.
Our abuse team were approached by two former inmates of Medomsley Detention Centre. They asked for her help in pursuing a claim for compensation for the abuse they suffered. We agreed to take the cases on and work on a no win – no fee basis.
Although unconnected to one another, both men gave very similar accounts of their time at Medomsley. The harsh treatment they endured, the beatings and incidents of sexual abuse appeared to be rife amongst the prison staff. Due to the ongoing criminal investigations as part of Operation Seabrook, the claims were initially placed on hold. Our specialist abuse team recognise how important it is not to take action that could potentially prejudice ongoing criminal investigations.
Following the conclusion of the criminal trial, we were then able to move forward with their compensation claims against the Ministry of Justice; the organisation responsible for Medomsley Detention Centre.
One of the claimants did not wish to put himself through a psychiatric assessment and was keen to bring the matter to a conclusion as soon as possible so he could put the matter behind him. After negotiations with the Government Legal Department, We were able to secure a sum of compensation he was happy with and the claim was concluded out of court on favourable terms.
The other claimant had suffered significant mental health difficulties throughout his life, some of which predated his time at Medomsley. We arranged for him to be assessed by a specialist psychiatrist to determine the impact his time at Medomsley had upon him. The helpful report enabled us to negotiate a five figure settlement for him, again out of court.
‘The extent of the abuse that went on at Medomsley is difficult to comprehend. The number of young men, many of whom were vulnerable, that were subjected to repeated acts of physical and sexual abuse throughout their time there is shocking. These young men were incarcerated and had nowhere to turn for help. It was a pleasure to be able to help these two men, who bravely came forward to seek justice for what they had suffered.’