Prison officers found guilty of non-recent abuse at Medomsley detention centre

|News, Violent crime

Five former Prison Officers have been convicted of offences relating to the ‘brutal’ physical abuse of young prisoners at a detention centre in Durham during the 1970s and 1980s.

The charges against them were brought as a result of Operation Seabrook, a large scale police investigation into non-recent abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre near Consett. Before its closure in 1988, the centre housed young males between the ages of 17 and 21.

The Crown Prosecution Service presented the case over the course of three trials at Teesside Crown Court, the first of which began in September of last year. For legal reasons, the results of the earlier proceedings could not be reported upon until today.

Heather Wilkinson from CPS North East said: “The men convicted over the course of these trials each played a part in creating a savage and brutal regime at Medomsley Detention Centre. Under their watch, young detainees were subject to physical abuse at the hands of the very men who had been charged with their care.

“I would like to praise the bravery of all of those complainants who came forward, despite their experiences, to provide Durham Police with evidence over the course of their five-year investigation. The scale of that investigation has created its own challenges, generating an unprecedented amount of evidential material. The CPS and police have worked closely to review this material, ensuring confidence in the disclosure process and enabling us to present the strongest evidence over the course of these trials.

“The charges we have taken forward against these men represent some of the most serious offending that took place at Medomsley Detention Centre. Although not all complaints could ultimately be prosecuted, it is highly unlikely that the current convictions could have been secured without the significant weight of evidence provided to investigators. I sincerely hope that every complainant can take a measure of comfort from knowing that their contributions have finally helped to deliver justice against those who abused them over three decades ago.”

Notes to editors

  • Heather Wilkinson is the Legal Manager for the Complex Casework Unit at CPS North East
  • Christopher Onslow (DOB 30/3/1946) was found guilty of:
    • two charges of misconduct in public office
    • one charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm
    • three charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm
    • one charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
  • He was found not guilty of:
    • two charges of Buggery
    • two charges of indecent assault
    • one charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm and
    • one charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
  • He has appealed against his convictions for misconduct in public office
  • John McGee (DOB 17/3/1944) was found guilty of:
    • one charge of misconduct in public office and
    • one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
  • He was found not guilty of:
    • two charges of indecent assault
    • one charge of buggery
    • three charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and
    • one charge of unlawful wounding.
  • He has appealed against his conviction for misconduct in public office
  • Brian Johnson Greenwell (DOB 24/7/1947) was found guilty of:
    • one charge of misconduct in public office.
  • He was found not guilty of
    • one charge of buggery
    • two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and
    • one charge of false imprisonment
  • Kevin Blakely (DOB 23/1/52) was found guilty of:
    • two charges of misconduct in public office. 
  • He was found not guilty of:
    • two charges of actual bodily harm and
    • two charges of unlawful wounding
  • Alan Bramley, (DOB 05/11/1948 was found guilty of:
    • one charge of misconduct in a public office.
  • He was found not guilty of:
    • two charges of actual bodily harm and
    • one charge of unlawful wounding.

Further reading