Three former Prison Officers jailed for abusing Detention Centre inmates

Three prison officers who subjected vulnerable teenagers to daily abuse at a detention centre in 1970s and 1980s have been jailed after a judge said their behaviour breached the public’s trust.

Durham Police carried out a huge investigation involving 1,800 witnesses into what happened at Medomsley Detention Centre near Consett, from its opening in the 1960s to its closure in 1988.

Christopher Onslow, 73, was convicted of misconduct in a public office as well as individual acts of violence against youths and was jailed for eight-and-a-half years at Teesside Crown Court.

He smacked one inmate around the head with muddy football boots which the teenager had not cleaned properly, leaving lasting scars, and caused another to fall from a cargo net and break his back by throwing rocks at the terrified, overweight boy when he got stuck.

John McGee, 75, was jailed for two years and 10 months following his conviction for misconduct in a public office and assault.

Standing more than 6ft tall, he punched a new, 5ft inmate in the face, who then soiled himself in fear, and McGee forced him to bunny-hop down a corridor to clean himself up.

Kevin Blakely, 67, was convicted after a trial of two counts of misconduct in a public office and was jailed for two years and nine months.

Judge Howard Crowson said pushing, shoving and even giving inmates a clip round the ear would not have constituted misconduct in the 1970s and 1980s.

But he said young offenders were regularly punched and stamped on as part of a regime of fear at Medomsley.

Two other officers, who were also convicted following a series of three trials, will be sentenced later this month.

The judge praised the victims’ bravery and the police for taking on the massive case, decades after the violent officers would have thought they had got away with their abuse.

He said: “For many years trainees from Medomlsey Detention Centre shared a common sense of grievance.

“Many had experienced brutality and violence at the hands of prison officers, but nobody wanted to hear about it.

“Those who had the courage to complain when they were released were either ignored or warned that to pursue the complaint would risk a return to Medomsley – nobody wanted to risk that.”

Judge Crowson said the country felt it easier to believe such institutions were places of appropriate discipline “where unruly boys were taught to behave properly”.

He said: “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.”

He said the defendants, now elderly men, had been protected for 40 years by that false view, and by a culture of silence from colleagues, even those who were not violent themselves.

The wardens’ violence caused injury but its main aim was to “crush the will of trainees, to terrify them and make them feel powerless”.

He said it was only through the commitment and persistence of the victims and the dedication of the police that enough evidence was gathered to paint the true picture of what happened there.

Toby Hedworth QC, defending Onslow, said either the leadership at Medomlsey was lacking, causing lower ranked officers to believe what they were doing was right, or the leaders were now going unpunished and it was only the “foot-soldiers” who were facing the consequences.

He said: “That regime is now being examined in the light of wholly different values and attitudes from those which pertained in the 1970s and early 1980s.”

He said Onslow was the principal carer for his wife, and he had a much longer period of service working in prisons after Medomsley without any issue.

Caroline Goodwin QC, representing McGee, said he had many years of public service, adding: “He is a proud man and stands tall at every opportunity.”

Simon Kealey QC, for Blakely, said he had worked with recovering drug and drink addicts for years after finishing in the prison service where he had an unblemished career.

Following the sentencing, Detective Chief Superintendent Adrian Green, of Durham Police, said the men had “abused their position to cause immeasurable suffering and lifelong damage to their victims”.

He added that more alleged victims of offences at Medomsley had come forward after the former officers’ convictions.

Of the victims whose allegations have already resulted in prosecutions, he said: “It has taken a huge amount of courage for these men to tell police what happened to them and we have worked hard to ensure they are listened to and supported throughout the investigation and subsequent court process.”

Prison Officer jailed over tips to newspaper

Reggie Nunkoo sold stories about celebrities such as George Michael
Reggie Nunkoo sold stories about celebrities such as George Michael

A former prison officer has been jailed for 10 months for selling “salacious gossip” about celebrity inmates to the Sun and Mirror newspapers.

While working at Pentonville Prison, Reggie Nunkoo, 41, was paid £600 by the Mirror for information he gave reporter Graham Brough about Jack Tweed being on suicide watch and a prison break in 2009, the court heard.

Nunkoo, of Walthamstow, east London, went on to approach the Sun and handed journalist Neil Millard details about singer George Michael crying in his cell and being moved to a “soft” prison after he was jailed for driving under the influence of cannabis in 2010.

He was also paid in 2011 for a Sun article headlined, Acid thug hid drugs in his cell, about Daniel Lynch, who was convicted of arranging an acid attack on TV presenter Katie Piper.

The officer, who used the pseudonym Roy, admitted he was purely motivated by money and had pocketed a total of £1,650, the court heard.

When he was arrested in June 2013, police found photographs of celebrity Blake Fielder-Civil, ex-partner of the late singer Amy Winehouse, at his home, prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said.

Nunkoo earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and was today jailed for 10 months at the Old Bailey.

The Common Serjeant of London said his conduct had amounted to a “flagrant breach” of the terms of his employment and a “gross breach of trust”.

He ordered Nunkoo to pay £1,000 he had gained through his crime plus a £100 victim surcharge.

In mitigation, his lawyer Jonathan Page said the information Nunkoo handed over was “more salacious gossip that anything that undermines security”.

He said the offences were committed in the context of a “picture of a marriage in crisis and a wife demanding a better lifestyle to be provided her than Mr Nunkoo could provide on his wages”.

As a result, the defendant, who has shown “genuine remorse”, is now back living with his parents in the bedroom he grew up in, Mr Page said.

At the same hearing, the judge handed a four-month sentence suspended for 12 months to Metropolitan Police Service civilian worker Rosemary Collier, who admitted misconduct in a public office in relation to her dealings with Mr Millard in 2010.

Collier, who worked at the central communications command in Bow, was paid £700 for information from a confidential briefing note on how to act in the face of a terrorist shooting incident.

It led to a story in the Sun headlined Mumbai Raid Fear for Xmas Shoppers, the court heard.

Collier, 40, of Tiverton in Devon, appeared tearful in the dock as the judge ordered her to pay the sum total of the money she gained amounting to £772, plus a £80 victim surcharge.

Mr Millard, 33, of south Croydon, and Mr Brough, 54, of south-west London, were both cleared of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office following a trial last month at the Old Bailey.

In his evidence, Brough said he did not believe Nunkoo was a prison officer at the time and he only give him “limited information” for his stories.

Following the sentencing, Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Briggs, leading on Elveden, said: “Collier and Nunkoo leaked confidential information obtained in the course of their duties to journalists for their own private financial gain.

“When public officials act in this way, they betray the trust placed in them and undermine public confidence, their dishonest actions harm the public interest and merit criminal sanction.”

Holloway Prison Officer Jailed

Jailed Prison Officer Sophia King-Chinnery
Jailed Prison Officer Sophia King-Chinnery

A prison officer has been jailed after she enjoyed a secret lesbian romance with an inmate serving life for murder in a Holloway Prison.

Sophia King-Chinnery, 25, embarked on a relationship with Sarah Anderson after she was locked up at the notorious jail in Parkhurst Road for a minimum of 15 years for stabbing a cyclist to death in the street.

They exchanged hundreds of love letters in which Anderson addressed the prison officer as her “wife”, Southwark Crown Court heard.

King-Chinnery also allowed the inmate to keep a mobile phone for eight months so the pair could spend hours chatting to each other.

But the convicted murder was left distraught after hearing rumours that King-Chinnery was cheating on her.

After being confronted by bosses King-Chinnery accepted she had an “emotional relationship” with her jailbird lover after experiencing difficulties with her colleagues, but letters between the two were said to “make clear” the relationship was sexual.

King-Chinnery, of Hook Rise South, Surbiton, Surrey, admitted to two counts of misconduct in a public office and sobbed after she was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Friday.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Gledhill QC told her: “The fact of the matter is you were a prison officer and from the moment you became a prison officer, you were well aware of the rules, which don’t include having any sort of personal relationship with the prisoners that you are supposed to be looking after.

“I’m aware you will have a much harder time than others when serving your sentence but you brought that on yourself.”

Prosecutor Andrew Howarth said: “Clearly the relationship went further than an emotional one.’

“The letters made clear the nature of the relationship between the two women was sexual.”

The judge gave Anderson a concurrent three-month prison term after she admitted to causing the transmission of a sound or image from prison.

Jail Sex Abuse Claims Now Over 140

Paedophile Prison Officer Neville Husband
Paedophile Prison Officer Neville Husband

A police investigation into a young offenders’ centre in County Durham has now heard claims from more than 140 people that they were abused between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s.

Detectives announced in August they were starting a new investigation into allegations young men sent to Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett, were abused by staff, which led to 83 people coming forward.

That number has now increased to 143 and police chiefs said detectives were left shaken by some of the accounts they heard.

Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry, of Durham Constabulary, said: “We said from the outset this was going to be a long and complex investigation which we fully expect will last at least another 12 months.

“So far we have been contacted by more than 140 former inmates of Medomsley, who have reported they were victims of either sexual or physical abuse at the centre between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s.

“The accounts we have heard have been horrific and have shaken some very experienced detectives who are working on this.

“It is obviously distressing to hear from so many victims, but at the same time I am relieved they have shown the confidence in us to get in touch and allow us to help them.

“Our efforts are directed not just at establishing what happened in Medomsley over that period but ensuring the victims are left in a better place and get the support and advice they need.”

In 2003, a previous police investigation called Operation Halter led to the conviction of Neville Husband, a prison officer at the centre.

Husband was initially jailed for eight years after being found guilty of abusing five youngsters.

The publicity surrounding the trial then led to others coming forward and Husband was subsequently jailed for a further two years for these attacks.

After being released from prison he died from natural causes in 2010.

Medomsley detention centre

Back From The Dead Prison Officer Faces Jail

John-Darwin

The back-from-the-dead canoe fraudster, former Holme House prison officer John Darwin (left), from Hartlepool, is facing a return to prison after he left the UK without permission to meet a statuesque Ukrainian in a mini-skirt.

The 63-year-old was pictured in The Sun on a date with a blonde woman in her 20s in the town of Sumy, 1,500 miles from his home.

He was freed early on licence in January 2011 after being sentenced in 2008 to serve six years and three months for fraud.

That meant he was not allowed to leave the UK without Probation Service permission until all of his sentence was served.

A source close to the case said: “He is facing a return to prison for travelling abroad without permission.”

The Probation Service would not speak about individual cases but a spokesman said: “Any offender subject to licence supervision is required to gain permission from probation to travel outside of the UK; permission is only granted in exceptional circumstances.

“Any offender who travels without this permission will be subject to recall to custody.

“In these circumstances the Probation Service works closely with the police to implement the recall.”

It was believed Darwin was still in the Ukraine.

According to The Sun, Darwin and his date, a local woman named Anna, enjoyed a two-hour meal assisted by a translator, but the evening turned sour when he was confronted by a reporter.

The newspaper said Darwin first made contact with the woman over the internet.

He faked his own death in a canoeing accident in 2002 so his then wife Anne (right) could claim hundreds of thousands of pounds from insurance policies and pension schemes.

The couple, from Seaton Carew, were jailed at Teesside Crown Court in 2008 for the swindle, which deceived the police, a coroner, financial institutions and even their sons Mark and Anthony.

Darwin admitted fraud so received a slightly shorter sentence than Anne, who denied the offences. They have now divorced.

After faking his own death, Darwin continued to live in secret with his wife before they escaped to Panama to start a new life.

But in December 2007 Darwin walked into a London police station claiming he had amnesia and was reunited with his stunned sons.

His wife, then still in Panama, initially also claimed to be surprised – until a photograph emerged of them posing together.

Female Prison Officer Jailed For Inmate Relationship

yasemin

A female prison officer has been jailed for a forbidden romance with a jailed man, Scotland Yard said.

Yasemin Ozyukselen, 24, of Peregrine Road, Waltham Abbey, Essex, met the man while taking him from a prisoner van into Snaresbrook Crown Court for breaching his licence in April 2011.

The pair crossed paths again when he was up for trial later that year on charges including kidnap, rape and blackmail, and exchanged passionate messages while he served time in HMP Belmarsh.

Ozyukselen was today sentenced to 10 months at Southwark Crown Court after pleading guilty earlier this year to misconduct in a public office for an inappropriate relationship and improper contact with a prisoner.

Officers from the London Prison Anti-Corruption Team first cottoned on to the long-distance affair after they received intelligence suggesting Ozyukselen was in contact with someone inside Belmarsh prison.

Records showed an inmate had called her mobile phone, and in recordings of their conversations officers heard the pair discuss meeting up when he got out of prison.

When she was arrested in June last year, Ozyukselen at first denied knowing the man or that he had her number.

But police discovered seven love letters and a scrap of newspaper in her bedside drawer with his name, “HMP Belmarsh”, a mobile number and the words “Give me your number if you want” written on it.

In the letters, the man referred to his sweetheart as “Yas”, “babe” and “princess” and answered her questions.

One, dated January 9 2012, read: “Wow you dressed up today I wonder who that was for EHEM EHEM.”

In the same missive he spoke of his jealousy at seeing her handcuffed to other men and said she had been kind and sweet to him, adding: “for eg, all the time you asked me do I need anything or am I OK.”

Another letter dated January 4 2012 read: “Since the day I came back from the day I got your number there’s been something about you I don’t know what it is… Honestly do you want to meet my family or are you just saying that you do.”

After the letters emerged, Ozyukselen claimed that he was a “crazy person” but admitted she had not told her employers that she was in contact with a prisoner, which broke the terms of her contract. She initially pleaded not guilty to the charges in November.

Detective Constable Rob Hinson said: “Ozyukselen’s position as a prisoner escort garnered huge public trust and she abused that by indulging in a forbidden relationship with a prisoner.

“The fact that she met this man knowing he was a prisoner, while she was at work and where it was her task to oversee him at times makes her betrayal all the more shocking.

“So the fact that she went on to lie to the police and the court about it initially, despite the damning evidence, is truly remarkable.

“Today’s sentence is well deserved and a warning to anyone else toying with abusing such a position of trust.”

 

COP WARNED HE FACES JAIL


A judge has warned a police officer that he may be jailed after being found guilty of assaulting a man he was trying to arrest.
Timothy Allatt, 33, a Nottinghamshire Police constable, was found guilty at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court of assaulting Jake Bramley in the early hours of July 25 last year.
District Judge Diane Baker told Allatt that after hearing two full days of evidence she did not accept that he used reasonable force in detaining Mr Bramley who was being pursued by officers on suspicion of stealing a car.
She said she was satisfied by evidence that Allatt hit Mr Bramley, threw him against a wall and then dragged him face down on to the floor before kicking him in the chest area.
She told Allatt, who sat next to his solicitor and looked down at his clasped hands and up at the judge as she spoke, that in normal circumstances she would hand out a community order for an assault conviction but his case had aggravating factors.
“Those aggravating factors are that this was a sustained assault,” she said.
“It was a sustained assault on a member of the public by a serving police officer.”
She continued: “At this stage I cannot rule out a custodial sentence.”
The judge told Allatt that when considering sentence she would take into account that he was a highly trained authorised firearms officer, that he had received four commendations in his 11 years as a policeman and that he was widely respected.
She told the court it was not said that Allatt caused all of Mr Bramley’s injuries – he was treated as an in-patient at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham for a collapsed lung and facial injuries following the incident – but she could not ignore the seriousness of his conviction and her duty to protect the public.
She added: “This was a gross breach of his position as a police officer.”
She granted Allatt unconditional bail and adjourned his case to September 28 for pre-sentence reports.
Speaking outside the courtroom, Allatt’s solicitor, Damian Kelly, said there would be no comment until he had been sentenced.
Last week the court heard that Allatt, who denied the offence, chased Mr Bramley through Sneinton, Nottingham, as he ran from police after they attempted to stop his silver Ford Fiesta as it was a suspected stolen vehicle.
Pc Daniel Moss, who was on duty that night, told the court that after being chased Mr Bramley was cornered by police and then Allatt assaulted him.
Mr Bramley was punched, grabbed, and kicked in the rib cage by Allatt, according to Pc Moss.
His account was to be believed over Allatt’s, Ms Baker said.
Allatt said Mr Bramley, who was 22 at the time, looked “agitated” and “appeared to be in a fighting stance”, which influenced the former policeman’s actions at the time.
He said he carried out a “palm heel strike” as a distraction blow, which hit Mr Bramley on the left side of his face near his ear, and pushed and pulled Mr Bramley with both arms to bring him to the ground and make a lawful arrest.
He said he did not kick him, drag him, or throw him against a wall.
Mr Bramley was arrested and taken to Queen’s Medical Centre at around 2.30am after he complained of chest pains.
Ms Baker said she did not find Allatt’s account as he was on the witness stand to be plausible, nor did she accept that Pc Moss may have made up the allegation against him because he was derided by fellow officers after the incident for failing to keep hold of Mr Bramley when he managed to grab on to his tracksuit top as he ran past him that night.
Part of Allatt’s evidence was that Pc Moss was not in the position he said he was at the time Allatt came into contact with Mr Bramley and could not have witnessed any alleged assault.
But Ms Baker said she was satisfied from evidence that Pc Moss could in fact have been close to Allatt at the time and could have seen his aggressive behaviour.
Allatt also did not tell the custody sergeant he had struck Mr Bramley when he was booking him in, nor did he record it on the standard police “use of force” forms that all officers have to complete when they have used force to restrain an individual.
During the trial, the court also heard that Allatt was dismissed in April this year after a police tribunal made a finding against him for unreasonable force.
But it was in relation to a separate matter and a different man who, the court heard, Allatt pushed against a wall after he got out of his police vehicle at speed in an aggressive manner.
Allatt has since appealed against the decision, but Ms Baker said it showed “bad character in the form of previous reprehensible behaviour”.
Nottinghamshire Police said Allatt was suspended after an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)inquiry, and while this was ongoing, was dismissed from the force for another matter.
Acting Detective Superintendent Mick Windmill-Jones, from the Professional Standards Directorate, said: “The public rightly expect their police officers to demonstrate in all they do the very highest standards of behaviour, integrity and professionalism.
“When an officer fails to display these qualities and commits a criminal offence, they can expect, like any other member of society, to be prosecuted in a court of law.
“Tim Allatt acted outside the code of conduct set for every officer by using excessive force and causing injury to another person. We referred this to the IPCC and a full investigation was launched.
“Today’s guilty verdict reflects the severity of what Allatt did, and shows the way he abused his position with a total lack of regard for his responsibility to protect the public.”
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said Allatt was dismissed from Nottinghamshire Police in April after a misconduct hearing relating to another alleged assault on a member of the public in Nottingham.
A spokesman said the misconduct proceedings arose from a separate IPCC independent investigation into the allegation that Allatt assaulted a 23-year-old man who was walking home drunk in Woodborough Road on January 16 last year.
The spokesman said Allatt was in a marked police car when he spotted the man walking along the pavement and stopped, grabbed the man and pushed him back into a door before driving off.
The IPCC said the CPS chose not to bring any criminal charge in the case, but the misconduct hearing found that, on the balance of probabilities, Allatt did assault the man and, by leaving him on the street, failed in his duty to make sure the man was safe.
IPCC Commissioner Len Jackson said: “While a police officer is entitled to use force where necessary to defend themselves or members of the public, the level of force used by Mr Allatt on these occasions was unjustifiable and excessive.
“The public rightly has high expectations of the conduct of police officers and this officer clearly failed to meet such expectations.
“As the earlier misconduct hearing ruled, his actions were inconsistent with the office of a police constable.
“I am pleased the force took the appropriate step some time ago, following an IPCC investigation, to ensure he is no longer a serving police officer. His actions do no credit to the considerable majority of police officers who act with suitable restraint and professionalism on a day-to-day basis.”