Claims Against Medomsley Deten...

Claims Against Medomsley Detention Centre

The Government Legal Department (GLD) have confirmed that the Medomsley Physical Abuse Settlement Scheme has been extended and will be reviewed in December 2023.

Watson Woodhouse Solicitors continue to encourage ex-offenders to come forward and register their claim. It is our aim that every victim who suffered abuse at the hands of Medomsley Detention Centre staff should achieve justice and compensation.

Medomsley Detention Centre, Consett, was a prison for young male offenders from 1961 until its closure in 1988 and provided a place for young offenders aged 16-21 as an alternative to mainstream prison. In 2013, Durham Constabulary launched an investigation into allegations of systematic sexual, physical, and mental abuse by a cohort of prison officers spanning a period of 25 years. Named “Operation Seabrook”, it is one of the largest investigations of its kind in the UK and supported by a dedicated team of officers. Nearly 2,000 men, to date, have come forward to report allegations of abuse at Medomsley that spanned a period of 25 years. There have since been seven convicted, including Officers Christopher Onslow, John McGee, Alan Bramley, Kevin Blakeley and Brian Johnson Greenwell, alongside Chef Neville Husband and Caretaker Leslie Johnson.

The agreed extension to the victims’ compensation scheme means many potential victims who were initially not eligible to receive compensation under the terms of the scheme can now make a claim. The extended scheme removes the requirement for the officer in question to be convicted before a claim can be made. Victims now only need to prove they were in the detention centre at the same time as the officer who physically abused them.

The extension was facilitated due to the collective actions of a Steering Group comprising of a number of Law Firms, led by Alistair Smith. The Investigations were also raised in Parliament with support from local MP for Middlesbrough, Andy McDonald. Due to the scale of the investigation, there is now recognition for the need for a Public Enquiry to try to understand how and why systematic abuse occurred and went undetected for so long.

Alistair Smith, specialist Historic Abuse Solicitor at Watson Woodhouse Solicitors in Middlesbrough, has been leading the Steering Group which has lobbied the Ministry of Justice to initially introduce a compensation scheme and to extend the scheme and its criteria to allow further compensation to many more victims.  Collectively the Steering Group were representing over 1000 cases brought by ex-inmates.

Watson Woodhouse works on a “No Win, No Fee” basis with no deduction taken from the compensation awarded, as costs are settled by the Ministry of Justice. This means we are able to pass the full compensation to our clients, whereas other Solicitors may deduct a charge of up to 25% of any compensation awarded.

Alistair Smith of Watson Woodhouse says: “Abuse, whether it be sexual or physical, is appalling whenever it happens and has awful consequences for its victims. We cannot take back what has happened in the past but we can try to help ease the future and recover any compensation you may be due. We understand the impact of trauma survivors have to deal with on a daily basis. We want to reassure all claimants that we deal with all cases in a sensitive and confidential manner, with both male and female solicitors available to provide advice and support. We never have and never will deduct compensation from victims of abuse at Medomsley or Kirklevington”

Alistair offers further reassurance to victims “A lot of years have passed and we don’t want claimants to be deterred by the thought of a long application process, it’s really not. It’s as easy as a 15-minute call with a member of our team to establish the year(s) you were detained and any personal knowledge or interactions you remember with the officers. After that, we complete the application process and go on to source the PNC evidence number required to proceed for you. Around 90% of our clients are successful and receive between £1750 and £5000 compensation depending on the criteria and their level & longevity of suffering”.

Following on from this landmark investigation into Medomsley, hundreds of ex-detainees have reported similar practices at Kirklevington Detention Centre near Yarm in Teesside. Both Law Firms are also keen to hear of any ex-detainees who were abused at that facility between the 1960’s and 1990’s.

On 24th October 2023, it was announced an investigation into the abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre will take place. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) will look into what the authorities knew about the abuse, what action they took, if any, and whether there were opportunities for them to have taken action or intervened earlier and saved the misery of the abuse for so many young offenders.

If you or anyone you know has experienced abuse at the hands of officers in either Medomsley Detention Centre, Consett or  Kirklevington Detention Centre Yarm, please do get in touch with us for an informal discussion by filling in our Contact Form by calling us on 01642 247656 or email us at

Why use a solicitor?

  • Abuse cases including those occurring at Medomsley are complex and require the proficiency a solicitor will bring to a case. 
  • Working with a solicitor means victims have the choice to be present in court. 
  • A solicitor communicates with all parties involved on behalf of the victim.
  • Solicitors ensure full confidentiality of every case.

Why Watson Woodhouse?

  • Consultations are free of charge, available at a time suitable for you and fully without obligation.
  • We’re specialists in this area with vast amounts of experience in successful claims for abuse victims.
  • Your case is dealt with the full amount of sensitivity it deserves and is completely confidential.
  • If successful in application we ensure you retain 100% of the damages awarded by deducting nothing from an award. 
  • We will not deduct any success fee from your award, to ensure  you retain 100% of your damages awarded. 


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We are here to help.

Call us for a confidential consultation with a specialist solicitor today on 01642 247656 or on our 24/7 Emergency Helpline 01642 917175

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