Tyne & Wear

Medomsley detention centre abuse victims to be compensated

Gary Wallace
Image caption Gary Wallace said he was thrown down the stairs

Former inmates who were abused at a youth detention centre are to be compensated by the government.

Hundreds of men have come forward to police over their treatment at Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham in the 1970s and 1980s.

Those who were physically abused can apply for between £1,750 and £5,000.

Gary Wallace said he still could not sleep because of the fear of what was done to him and the compensation "doesn't ease it".

"They could give you a million pounds and it wouldn't ease it," he said.

"I've never really slept for the last 30-something years.

"Just the fear of going to sleep - if you do, you wake up with a start because you actually think they're coming for you."

Image caption Medomsley Detention Centre closed in 1988

More than a thousand former inmates have applied for compensation and there is no deadline for applications.

The payments will depend on the extent of their physical and psychological injury and the length of time they stayed at the centre.

Medomsley was built in 1960 to house young men aged 17 to 21 who were detained for relatively minor offences. It closed in 1988.

Five prison officers been jailed for physically abusing boys at the centre.

Mr Wallace said some wardens were "definitely sadistic".

"If they did go a bit over and give you a black eye and you were due a visit they would cancel the visit by saying you weren't too well, or you didn't want to see them," he said.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said its "deepest sympathies remain with those who suffered abuse at Medomsley".

"It is right that those responsible for such appalling behaviour are being brought to justice," he said.

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