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Medomsley Dentention Centre Case – “Operation Seabrook”

What is Medomsley Detention Centre?

Medomsley Detention Centre was a youth detention centre in Consett, County Durham, which operated from the late 1960s until 1990. The aim of the centre was to provide “short, sharp, shock” treatment to young offenders aged between 17-21 years and was primarily designed to prevent them from being sent to mainstream prison.

What is Operation Seabrook?

In August 2013, Durham Constabulary launched a criminal investigation due to allegations that began to surface from former inmates stating they were subjected to brutal and indiscriminate violence (physical, sexual and mental abuse) from a number of officers and staff members.

Two members of staff, Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson, were convicted of sexual offences against inmates; Husband being convicted twice for the most serious sexual assaults, in 2003 and 2005. Both abusers are now dead.

Durham Police are currently investigating over 1500 complaints in relation to Medomsley, including both physical and sexual abuse. If you were subjected to abuse whilst at Medomsley, we would recommend you speak to one of the officers involved in “Operation Seabrook” by calling 101.

So far, 1793 men have come forward to the police to report allegations physical, sexual and mental abuse during their stay in Medomsley Detention Centre.

Officers convicted:

A number of former officers at Medomsley appeared at Teeside Crown Court on 16th January 2018 and have been convicted of offences against inmates at Medomsley. These officers are:

Christopher Onslaw was in charge of physical training between 1975 and 1985. The court found him guilty of the following;

  • Three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH)
  • One count of inflicting grievous bodily harm (GBH)
  • One count of wounding with intent to cause GBH
  • Two counts of misconduct in a public office

Onslaw received a sentence of 8 and a half years. He has also submitted an appeal against his conviction.

John McGee worked at Medomsley from 1975 until 1982. Teesside Crown Court found him guilty of the following:

  • One count of assault occasioning ABH
  • One count of misconduct in a public office

McGee received a sentence of 2 years and 10 months. He has also launched an appeal against his conviction.

Kevin Blakely was posted to Medomsley in 1974 until 1983. The court found him guilty of two counts of misconduct in a public office, and he received a sentence of 2 years and 9 months.

Furthermore, two other officers on trial, Brian Greenwell and Alan Bramley, were both found guilty of one count of misconduct in a public office. They are yet to be sentenced.

The court cleared Neil Sowerby and David McClure of all charges.

McKeag & Co Solicitors have settled a significant number of cases in relation to Medomsley Detention Centre, and currently represent a large number of clients who allege physical, sexual and mental abuse. We are part of a Steering Group collectively handling claims for over 1,000 clients affected by abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre.

As the police have confirmed that their investigation continues with the CPS still considering files relating to a number of other ex-officers we continue to work closely with Durham Police during the investigation. They welcome contact from former inmates who have not previously spoken to them, and ask that they be contacted on the police ‘101’ number or by email at

McKeag & Co Solicitors have a dedicated team of highly specialist lawyers who can ensure your claim is handled sensitively, enabling you to secure the best outcome from those responsible for your traumatic experiences.

What is Abuse?

Abuse can take many forms, whether it be physical, sexual or mental. It can occur over a period of time or may even be a single incident. In some cases, the abuser is known to the individual suffering, possibly a family member or a friend, which is why the abuse can remain unreported for many years.

Abuse can occur in a variety of circumstances. Claims could be made against:

  • The individual who committed the abuse
  • An organisation responsible for that person, usually an employer
  • An organisation that should have taken steps to prevent the abuse but failed such as social services, religious organisations and sports clubs.

We are currently acting for several former inmates that were detained in Medomsley Detention Centre that were subjected to physical and sexual abuse from prison officers. If you have been a victim of physical, mental or sexual abuse and you would like to speak in confidence to a specialist about how to make a claim for compensation, then please contact us here.

McKeag & Co Solicitors, 1-3 Lansdowne Terrace, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 1HN
Tel: 0191 213 1010
24 Hour Emergency Line: 07850 565543 (Crime only)