Prison officer punched boy for being a Sunderland fan, court hears as Medomsley Detention Centre pair are jailed
Two prison officers involved in "brutality and violence" at a detention centre where young people were abused in the 1970s and 1980s have been jailed.
The men were brought to justice after Durham Police carried out a huge investigation involving 1,800 witnesses into what happened at Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett, County Durham, from its opening in the 1960s to its closure in 1988.
Brian Greenwell, 71, and Alan Bramley, 70, were two of five now-retired officers to be convicted over their involvement in the abuse that youngsters suffered at the centre.
Teesside Crown Court heard how one witness described Greenwell, who worked at the centre between 1973 and 1988 as a chef and discipline officer, dragging a semi-naked detainee from the toilets because he had not prepared food quickly enough.
Another said that they had been punched by Bramley, who worked at Medomsley from 1973 to 1977, because he was a Sunderland football fan.
The court heard victim impact statements from a number of detainees, some of whom said that, around 40 years on from their terms at the centre, they still suffer nightmares about their time there.
One former detainee said his stay at Medomsley had been "hell on earth", explaining how he has had to take anti-depressants for 30 years and blames it "90%" on his time at the centre.
The man said of some of the officers who worked there: "At times it seemed as though they were using us to show off to one another, laughing as they did it."
In sentencing Greenwell and Bramley, who were both convicted of misconduct in a public office, Judge Howard Crowson told the court that victims of Medomsley had shown great bravery in coming forward.
Telling how some of those who were abused by various officers at the centre did not come forward out of fear of being sent back to the detention centre, he said: "Many had experienced brutality and violence at the hands of prison officers, but nobody wanted to hear about it.
"In those days, any complaint was likely to be regarded as further evidence that the trainee was anti-social, that he had not learned his lesson and was complaining about appropriate treatment.
"Many came from communities where they feared that to admit they had been cowed by your threats and violence would leave them being viewed as weak in the eyes of the community in which they lived."
Greenwell showed no emotion as he was given a sentence of two and a half years, while Bramley was jailed for 18 months.
Prosecutor Jamie Hill QC said of the pair: "They not only embraced the culture of violence that existed at Medomsley, but enhanced it.
"Individuals cannot simply abdicate individual responsibility and say that they were obeying orders or following a culture that already existed."
Robert Woodcock, defending Greenwell, said his client's offence covered the period from 1973 to 1982, and that it could not be proved by the jury's verdict that he misconducted himself throughout that nine-year period.
Anthony Hawks, defending Bramley, said that the defendant had gone to work in other prisons following his time at Medomsley, and had an otherwise unblemished record.
He said: "Now in his 71st year, rather than receiving the thanks of the public, which I would submit he richly deserves, he finds himself a broken man, ruined by events that allegedly occurred over 40 years ago."
Three other officers were jailed earlier this month for their roles in the abuse, having been convicted following a series of three trials at the court.
Among them was Christopher Onslow, 73, who was given an eight-and-a-half-year sentence after being convicted of misconduct in a public office and individual acts of violence.
John McGee, 75, was given a sentence of two years and eight months for misconduct in a public office and assault, while 67-year-old Kevin Blakely was jailed for two years and nine months for two counts of misconduct in a public office.