Dossier of Depravity
Grim revelations today lift the lid on the shocking scale of sex abuse at a former North East Borstal.
Grim revelations today lift the lid on the shocking scale of sex abuse at a former North East Borstal.
was meant to give young offenders a short, sharp shock. Instead, many
were left scarred for life, haunted by a brutal catalogue of sex
abuse of inmates at the Medomsley Detention Centre, in Consett, County
Durham, came to light when former kitchen officer Neville Husband was
convicted of molesting a string of young lads in the 1970s and 1980s.
But today, fresh revelations expose the shocking scale of the abuse suffered behind the bars of the now-closed juvenile jail.
papers obtained by the Chronicle state that prison officers suspected
married father-of-one Husband was preying on inmates but did nothing.
hidden for nearly 40 years reveal Husband, who went on to become a
church minister in Gateshead, had been investigated for importing child
pornography a decade before he staged his attacks.
ex-colleagues tell how the 69-year-old, currently serving a 10-year jail
term, had regular shipments of hardcore porn sent to him at Medomsley.
a second officer was also convicted of indecently assaulting a male
prisoner, who had been introduced to him by Husband, of Shotley Bridge.
The pair continued to visit and abuse the same boy after he was released from custody.
of police interviews also reveal thousands of indecent pictures of
children were found on computers seized from Husband’s home and his
United Reformed Church office.
Medomsley Detention Centre was built in 1898 but wasn’t acquired by the Prison Commission until 1959.
just 11 staff, a 1977 inspection report described Medomsley as
`Dickensian’ and read: “The detention centre has never hit the headlines
and within the Prison Department has apparently been accepted as a
place where nothing of any import ever occurs and one which is unlikely
to cause any problems.”
Husband, now dubbed the `Medomsley
monster’, worked at the jail as a kitchen officer. After 27 years in the
prison service, he became a United Reformed Church minister in
Gateshead in 1994.
But it was not until 2001 that his perverted
past came back to haunt him. Previously silenced by shame, some of his
victims spoke out about the ordeal they suffered decades earlier.
was convicted by a Newcastle Crown Court jury of molesting five boys
and jailed for eight years. Publicity surrounding the trial encouraged
others to come forward and he was jailed for a further two years on
But now we can reveal Husband’s depraved interest in young boys was apparent years earlier.
A report reveals police probed Husband for importing homosexual pornographic pictures while working at a borstal in Dorset.
document, signed by the governor of HM Borstal Portland, reads: “The
police showed me sample photographs of men in obscene and lewd postures,
a signed order form and a signed cheque for 20/- which they allege was
sent to an address in Sweden by Officer Husband.
interviewed Officer Husband at Portland police station and he admitted
sending for a series of photographs, the sample of the series he ordered
pictured two naked men, apparently engaged in homosexual activity.
Immediately following the police interview Husband saw me privately and informed me of the statement he had made to the police.
told me – and the police – that he was considering writing a book on
homosexuality and he had sent for the photos to assist to this end.
Officer Husband is a good cook and baker, a married man with one child,
buff, hearty and something of a comedian.”
A second document
dated July 1967 reveals no further action was taken by the police and
Husband was allowed to continue working with children in the prison
The allegations made against him in 1967 were brought up
again when he was quizzed regarding sex abuse claims in 2001. We have
accessed a transcript of a police interview with Husband, during which
he admits the pornography he imported showed images of children.
officer from Consett police station asks him: “And I understand that
while you were in Portland, an investigation took place regarding you
importing pornographic pictures of teenage boys, is that correct?”
replies: “There was, yes there was.” Seconds later, Husband, who
claimed he was writing a book about homosexuality, adds: “The
pornography at that time was, it was soft porn, but again I wasn’t aware
that it was boys because you got sent what you got sent.”
The deputy governor at Portland while Husband was investigated, James Millar Reid, went on to become the governor at Medomsley.
given to police by prison officers who worked with Husband suggest
suspicions were rife about his cravings for young boys, who he went on
to molest in the kitchens he ran.
One by an officer who served at
Medomsley in 1978, reads: “I don’t know why but all the governors
thought very highly of Husband and seemed to look after him.
example, on a regular basis on rotation we would thoroughly search
various areas within the centre. This was to look for cigarettes and
alcohol. All main areas of the prison were searched except for the
kitchen area. The prison management would not allow anyone but Husband
to have access to the kitchen area.”
After Husband left
Medomsley, a search of the kitchen quarters discovered sex toys,
pornography and rubber underwear in a filing cabinet. Victims’
statements, many of which are too distressing for us to print, detail
how Husband abused them in the kitchen area.
statement adds: “There were always very strong rumours that Neville
Husband was homosexual and that he was sexually abusing boys who were
working with him in the kitchen. This was general knowledge among staff
and boys in the centre.
“On a night time Husband would usually
keep one boy back with him after the others had been dismissed and we
all felt sorry for that boy.
Nobody reported their suspicions to
anyone because Husband was so close to, and seemed to be supported by
the governors and senior management.” Another officer told how he had to
take time off work because of Husband’s “overbearing attitude” and that
he was “too scared” to report rumours of him abusing boys.
dossier also reveals Husband arranged for pornography to be sent to him.
A statement given to police by one of his ex-colleagues reads: “For
some time I was employed as a gate officer and was surprised to see
Husband was receiving large quantities of post containing homosexual
“Sometime the envelopes were not sealed and I used
to look at the magazines and burn them without telling Husband. One
package contained a video. I looked at this and found it was hardcore
gay porn, again I burned it.”
A number of former Medomsley
workers have told how Husband’s closest friend in the jail was a
storeman called Leslie Johnston who has also been convicted of indecent
assault on an inmate at the detention centre. He revealed this while
being interviewed by police in the run-up to Husband’s trial.
states: “After a while, Neville and I became quite good friends. We had a
mutual interest in religion.” He adds: “We joined the freemasons at
Chopwell and got on quite well together. We sometimes went out together
with our wives to social functions.”
Johnston’s statement went
on: “At one stage I think Neville suggested that he had a lad working in
the kitchen who he thought would be suitable to assist me in the stores
department. Whilst XXXX was working with me in the stores I developed a
sexual relationship with him.” He adds: “As a result of this I was
convicted at court of indecent assault and subsequently left the prison
In the same statement, Johnston tells how he knew
Husband had abused the same boy and that the pair both visited the
victim once he had been released from prison.
interviewed by police on a number of occasions. The transcript of one
quiz, seen by us, tell how explicit videos of children were taken from
his house in 1999.
In September 2001, he was arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent photographs of children.
home PC, disks, zip-disks and a laptop from the United Reformed Church
office on Cromer Avenue, Gateshead, had all been seized.
the interview, Husband is told detectives discovered thousands of
indecent images of children, some of which were stored on disks labelled
with phoney titles relating to church business.
The Home Office declines to comment on our investigation. No-one at the United Reformed Church was available for comment.
Victims of preacher
Victims of Neville Husband today told of their horror at the revelations about his past.
Young, of Jarrow, South Tyneside, suffered at the hands of Husband when
he was sent to Medomsley for handling a stolen watch in 1977.
Mr Young, now 45, was brutally targeted by Husband, including being photographed while he lay bound, blindfold, and naked.
He said: “When I left that place I was shocked and shaken but I’m even more shocked and shaken at what has come out now.
“These papers show officers saying things like `I felt sorry for that boy’, but I don’t think sorry is good enough.”
The true horror of the ordeal Mr Young suffered didn’t hit him until he had a chance encounter with Husband in York in 1996.
bravely spoke out against the pervert preacher and after watching
Husband get jailed for the attacks, he launched a bid for compensation
against the Home Office.
Despite winning a landmark legal victory
allowing him to sue last November, the ruling was overturned earlier
this month, meaning he will go without a penny.
Now, dad-of-one Mr Young is calling for a full public inquiry into the case.
Mr Young added: “The judge in November described this as a `serious case involving crown officers’ and that’s what it was.
truth of the matter is I should never have been subjected to the
attacks I was subjected to in light of what was known about him in 1967
in that he had an unhealthy interest in young boys.”
Mr Young is urging any other victims to contact his support group Justice4Survivors.
Another former inmate Richard Hall has also waived his right to anonymity to talk to the Chronicle.
Mr Hall, now 43, of Heaton, Newcastle, was sexually abused and beaten senseless by Husband in 1980.
Today, he said: “It never goes away but it’s right these things come out because people need to know.
seems from these papers that there are some people who might have
suspected what was going on all along, which leaves a nasty taste to say
“It’s the other victims who perhaps haven’t come forward I worry about.”
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