CALLS for a public inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of inmates at a notorious North-East borstal are growing.

North-West Durham MP Laura Pidcock has said there should be a fresh investigation into what happened to boys held at Medomsley Detention Centre during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Currently, about 1,800 complaints of abuse have been made by some of the thousands who stayed there between 1961 and 1988.

Last week, three former prison guards for their part in the brutality at the institution near Consett, with two more to be sentenced later this month.

Ms Pidcock said: “Over a long period, I’ve listened and spoken to the victims of Medomsley Detention Centre, who have come to me to tell their stories, in the hope of getting some justice.

“As well as the extreme violence that was normalised at detention centres across the country in the 1970s and 80s, there was a well organised pattern of sexual abuse at this particular detention centre.

“Some of that abuse happened outside the centre, when young men were taken out of Medomsley Detention Centre.

“Their stories are harrowing and their experiences at the hands of their abusers have gone on to affect the rest of their lives, for many in tragic ways.”

Judge Howard Crowson, who presided over three trials said there was “a culture of silence among prison officers” and a determined effort to “crush the will” of young offenders.

Ms Pidcock suspects, along with support groups, that the number of victims, only scratches the surface of the true scale of the abuse.

She said as people were brought to the centre from all over the country, often for minor offences, it is likely that most MPs will have Medomsley victims among their constituents.

Ms Pidcock said she has met with victims of the abuse who have told her about the horrific ordeals they have suffered and how they felt ignored and abandoned by the system.

She said: “Complaints of physical and sexual abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre number 1,800, making it the largest single occurrence of abuse in this country.

“The overriding feeling of the men isn’t just a desire for justice, but, as with many victims of sexual abuse, to stop it ever happening again, to other vulnerable children and young adults in detention facilities.”

“The victims don’t feel that their experiences have been acknowledged sufficiently by the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), because the story of Medomsley includes specific and different lessons about organised, institutional abuse, much of which happened to victims aged 18-21.”

Ms Pidcock has not spoken publicly about the issue previously due to ongoing legal proceedings but has written letters to successive Home Secretaries since 2017, including Sajid Javid.

She said: “Above all, the question will be asked why the physical and sexual abuse was allowed to go on for years after victims had reported the abuse.

“The lessons of this tragic story and the failure to protect these young people must be learned.

“That’s why I am calling for a full, independent and public inquiry into the events at Medomsley Detention Centre and I hope that the Home secretary will heed those calls.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “It would be inappropriate to comment while legal proceedings are ongoing.”