A JUDGE has launched a blistering attack on the code of silence that protected the monsters of Medomsley for almost 40 years.

Judge Howard Crowson was speaking as three warders who led a brutal regime at the "hell hole" jail where traumatised young inmates were treated "like animals" were locked up for a total of 13 and a half years.

Judge Crowson said: "For many years, trainees from Medomsley Detention Centre shared a common sense of grievance. Many had experienced brutality at the hands of prison officers but nobody wanted to hear 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 - and no one wanted to risk that.

"Most of the victims told nobody, judging that society was not ready to hear these claims. We lived in an era in which it was easier and more comfortable to believe that Medomsley was a place of appropriate discipline where unruly boys were taught to behave properly.

"A place where prison officers were firm but fair in their handling of trainees.

"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.

"You have all been protected for 40 years by that false view, by the fear of returning with which each trainee left Medomsley, by a culture of silence amongst prison officers, even amongst those who were not prepared to engage in the violence and then by the belief that nobody would believe a trainee over a prison officer with a good character.

"These trials have vindicated the claims of the trainees from Medomsley Detention Centre who said that it hid a violent and brutal regime."

Judge Crowson told the men: "In each of your cases, the characteristics of your misconduct in public office were, I am sure, violent brutality; a bullying domination of trainees which caused some physical injury but was primarily intended to crush the will of the trainees, to terrify them and to make them feel powerless. It succeeded."

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Superintendent Adrian Green, said: “These men, who are all former prison officers, abused their position to cause immeasurable suffering and lifelong damage to their victims.

“We hope that their convictions and the sentences passed today provides victims and survivors of abuse at Medomsley with some comfort and a feeling that justice has been served.

“For more than five years, our dedicated team of investigators has worked extremely hard to investigate all reported incidents of abuse and to gather evidence to present in court.

“We have faced a number of challenges during the investigation due to the sheer scale of the enquiry, the nature of the offences and the time that has elapsed.

“When we launched Operation Seabrook back in August 2013, we could never have envisaged the huge numbers of men coming forward to report abuse while detained at Medomsley.

“We have had a further 89 victims and survivors come forward to us after the reporting restrictions were lifted last month at the conclusion of the third trial, bringing the overall number of victims to 1,765.

“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.”

Two other former officers, Alan Bramley, 70, and Brian Johnson Greenwell, 71, were both found guilty of one count of misconduct in a public office. They will be sentenced at a later date.

Onslow, McGee and Greenwell have since submitted appeals against their convictions for misconduct in a public office. These appeals are currently ongoing.