Ray Poar suffered horrific abuse at the hands of prison guards at Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham
A teenage boy was beaten and raped ‘almost daily’ at a youth detention centre after being locked up for stealing biscuits.
Ray Poar was 17 when he suffered horrific abuse at the hands of prison guards at Medomsley Dentention Centre in County Durham.
On one occasion, he says he was pushed against a wall, threatened with death and raped by Neville Husband, who worked at the centre.
He says the paedophile “kept squeezing and squeezing” until he passed out, adding: “When I came round he was actually raping me.”
Mr Poar, a former taxi driver from Widnes, in Cheshire, is one of over 1,600 victims who have come forward about abuse they suffered at Medomsley – making it the largest ever police probe into historic sex abuse, the Liverpool Echo reports.
He waived his anonymity to speak about his ordeal.
Within minutes of the now 57-year-old walking through the centre gates, he says he had his first experience of the brutal regime when he was punched in the chest by a prison guard.
He said: “One of the lads that was there going through reception, he didn’t answer with Sir and I laughed, you know, and the officer shouted at him, it must have been a nervous laugh.
“And this officer punched me full in the chest, right in the middle of my chest, I knew then this was something different.”
Days later Mr Poar was in the corridor scrubbing floors when another officer stamped on his hand for being in his way.
But Mr Poar says that the hardest experience was the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of peadophile Neville Husband.
Husband was jailed in 2003 for rape and died in 2010.
The first time Husband abused Mr Poar was just three days after he arrived at Medomsley when Husband forced him into a storage cupboard.
Mr Poar said: “He got his hand inside my trousers and I pulled away and he grabbed me round the windpipe and pushed me against the wall and told me ‘If you don’t do what I want I can make you disappear, no-one would know – you’d just be dead.’
“He kept squeezing and squeezing and squeezing while saying this to me and I passed out and when I came round he was actually raping me.”
He continued: “From then on it was every day for the whole time I was there. Not quite every day but it felt like every day and it was different things all the time.
“It went on and on and on and you got used to it, it became part of the routine of the day. He’d [Husband] take you upstairs, give you a cigarette and do what he wanted to do or get you to do what he wanted you to do. So, I don’t know, I was in despair,” said Mr Poar.
“I knew it wasn’t normal, I knew it was wrong but nothing I could do, nothing I could say, we were captive. The officers were brutal to everyone, so you couldn’t talk to an officer.”
Like many of the other inmates the offences that sent Mr Poar to Medomsley were relatively small, for him it was a few thefts from the local crisp and biscuit factory in Widnes.
He believes that because the Medomsley was a detention centre that any concerns were brushed off because the abuse victims were “bad lads” .
The horrific cycle of abuse left the dad-of-three traumatised for 40 years.
“From the moment I wake up I’m thinking about Medomsley until the the minute I go to bed.”
Over four decades he has battled demons as a result of the abuse which included him being paranoid about possible paedophiles with his own children.
“When I got out, I resolved not to tell anyone but the over-ridding thing was shame. I didn’t want anyone to know so I kept it to myself for years.
“Now and again I’d have a moment, I’d see something, a trigger in the paper or something that would make me upset and I’d brush it off. It was only after my children were born – that was a massive trigger for me because I thought everyone was a paedophile. It was going to happen to my kids and there was nothing I could do about it.”
To cope with the debilitating fear of history repeating itself Mr Poar started drinking heavily and his life began to spiral out of control.
“It got to a point about a year after my son was born, I wasn’t working properly, I was drinking all the time, I was borrowing money all the time and decided I was going to take my own life – I couldn’t live with it anymore.”
Mr Poar found help from a friend before he could carry it out and also credits his wife Denise, for helping him continue living.
He has since united with other victims and they worked together to uncover the full extent of abuse that happened at Medomsley.
The dad-of-three is hoping that by coming forward other children will be saved the trauma of abuse.
“I don’t feel brave [ coming forward] just frustration, the only good that can come is prevention. If I can stop one child being abused.”
Forty years after the abuse Mr Poar believes that the stress and trauma has led to him suffering a stroke and heart attack in the last five years.
The stroke and a diagnosis of epilepsy have left Mr Poar unable to work.
What was Medomsley Detention Centre?
Based in County Durham the centre housed offenders aged 17 to 21 and was described as a way to keep them out of prison and away from the influence of older criminals.
With capacity for 130 inmates the centre mostly took offenders from the north of England.
Generally there were only 70 inmates housed at any one time and most had been detained for relatively minor offences.
Inmates typically spent six to eight weeks at the Home Office-run centre before being released.
Durham Constabulary launched Operation Seabrook in August 2013 after a victim came forward to report being abused at the centre.
Following publicity surrounding the launch of Seabrook, hundreds of men came forward making allegations that they were physically or sexually abused by different staff members at Medomsley.
The abuse is said to have taken place over many years, mainly in the 1970s and 1980s.
To date 1,676 men have contacted the Operation Seabrook team to report allegations of either sexual or physical assaults while detained at Medomsley, between the 1960s and when the centre closed in 1988.