“I’m very sorry” says ex-governor of detention centre where hundreds of boys were abused
The former governor of a youth detention centre where hundreds of young inmates were physically and sexually abused has said he feels “very sorry” for the victims and offered to meet them in person.
Tim Newell was in charge of Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham from 1978 to 1981 when the abuse of inmates was at its height.
At that time the kitchens were run by caterer Neville Husband, who is now suspected of sexually assaulting up to 300 young men at the centre.
Former staff members have testified that the abuse by Husband was common knowledge – but ex-governor Mr Newell insisted he was not aware it was happening.
Mr Newell told BBC Inside Out North East and Cumbria: “I’ve said all along I never knew anything about it and that’s the truth.”
He added: “I did know nothing about it – and I was very sorry that it happened.”
Mr Newell said suggestions that he had protected Husband because they were friends were “rubbish” and added: “We were trying to make it a caring environment. I did my best as did a lot of the officers there.”
When asked if his ignorance of the abuse during his governorship absolved him of responsibility, Mr Newell replied: “No of course it doesn’t and I do accept that there was a failure in the institution and I’m very sorry about it.”
Mr Newell said he had offered to meet victims of abuse to explain his position and to say “how sorry I am”.
Neville Husband was convicted of abusing five young inmates and jailed for eight years in 2003. After the court hearing, more victims came forward and he was later given a further two year sentence for abusing four other teenagers.
Husband was released in 2008 and died two years later at the age of 72.
Inside Out has learned a total of £3.6 million has been paid by the government in compensation to 237 men who were abused by Husband.
A special 30 minute BBC Inside Out North East & Cumbria presented by Chris Jackson on the Medomsley investigation will be broadcast on BBC One in the North East and Cumbria on Wednesday 13 March at 23.45. It will also be available to view on iPlayer.