Tyne & Wear

Medomsley Detention Centre abuse victims compensated

Neville Husband Image copyright Durham Police
Image caption Neville Husband was jailed for 12 years in 2003 and has since died

More than £1m has been paid out in out-of-court settlements to victims of sexual and physical abuse at a former detention centre, it has emerged.

An investigation into the unit at Medomsley, County Durham, began a year ago after a former inmate came forward.

Up to 500 people could have been abused there in the 1970s and 80s, say police.

Solicitors acting for some of the victims said the Ministry of Justice had so far made payments averaging £40,000 to more than 35 people.

Following an earlier investigation two men were jailed in 2003 and 2005.

Prison officer and church minister Neville Husband was sentenced to 12 years and Leslie Johnson, a storeman, was sentenced to six.

Both men have since died.

'Truly shocking'

The jury at Husband's trial at Newcastle Crown Court was told he used his position to handpick victims aged between 16 and 19, whom he would "blatantly" abuse.

He was found guilty of 10 counts of indecent assault and one of a serious sexual offence.

At the time of the trial, in 2003, he had become a minister in the United Reformed Church, following 27 years in the prison service.

Medomsley closed in 1988 after the abuse came to light, but later reopened as a secure training unit.

David Greenwood, a solicitor for the claimants, said: "These settlements are welcome news for victims of abuse at Medomsley.

"It has been truly shocking to hear the accounts of these men who were boys at the time of the abuse."

The Ministry of Justice has yet to comment on the latest development.

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