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  • Writer's pictureMCKEAG & CO SOLICITORS


Updated: Jan 24, 2023

McKeag and Co Solicitors is helping to settle claims for those who experienced physical and sexual abuse during their time at the centre

From 1960, Medomsley Detention Centre housed young men, aged between 17 and 21, who were detained for relatively minor offences, before closing in 1988.

Whilst there, inmates were subjected to a brutal regime of physical violence and sexual abuse; two notorious members of the Medomsley staff, Neville Husband and Lesley Johnson, were jailed for serious sexual offences in 2003 and 2005.

In 2013, Durham police reopened investigations into the historical abuse of young inmates in Medomsley, which became known as Operation Seabrook.

Over 1,800 former detainees gave evidence to the police detailing the physical and sexual abuse they had suffered at the hands of former prison officers.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Question Time, Laura Pidock, the then MP for North West Durham, said: “Medomsley Detention Centre in my constituency was a living hell for the boys and young men sent there from across the UK in the 70s and 80s. Rape and torture were commonplace.”

The culmination of Operation Seabrook led to the conviction of five further prison officers for physical abuse with a trial of two further officers pending.

Compensation for former affected inmates

As a consequence of the convictions in the wake of Operation Seabrook, a steering group of solicitors - who represent the majority of the victims - were able to establish a compensation scheme with lawyers representing the Ministry of Justice.

This scheme has created a quick and easy route to enable former inmates to obtain a financial award as a form of redress for their suffering.

As is often the case, compensation settlement schemes are time-limited and once the deadline has passed, no further claims will be accepted under the scheme. Up until now, a cut-off date has not been agreed between the solicitor steering group and those representing the Ministry of Justice.

Patrick Rafferty, senior partner at McKeag and Co Solicitors of Newcastle and a member of the solicitor steering group, has recently been in discussions with solicitors from the government’s legal department.

It is his understanding that solicitors will be meeting with government representatives in the very near future and will thereafter have a meeting with the solicitor steering group in an attempt to agree a cut-off date.

Under the circumstance, it is strongly advised that any former inmates of Medomsley Detention Centre take steps to immediately register a claim. Likewise, any former inmates of Kirklevington Detention Centre which is also a subject of an ongoing police investigation.

Mckeag and Co has already settled more than 100 claims for clients who suffered physical or sexual abuse during their time in Medomsley, as well as also lodging numerous claims on behalf of former inmates of Kirklevington.

You should not hesitate to contact Patrick Rafferty on 01912 131 010 or via the website for expert advice if you have been affected. All cases are accepted on a 'no win no fee' basis.

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