A VICTIM of a detention centre scandal which sparked one of biggest ever abuse investigations of its kind has spoken of his joy at seeing the last of five prison officers jailed.

Brian Greenwell, 71, and Alan Bramley, 70 were jailed on Thursday for their part in attacks against vulnerable young boys at Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett, in County Durham.

Earlier this month three other prison officers were given jail terms for abuse carried out at the centre.

Tony Skillen, who was just 16-years-old when he was rushed to hospital following a brutal beating by prison officer Christopher Onslow, said: "It's really good to know that they, especially Onslow, are in prison.

"It was surely one of the best days of my life seeing Onslow sent to prison.

"It's taken a long time and I'm sure they never thought they would get that knock on the door after all this time."

"I have had awful mental health problems over the last 40 years.

"When I went in there I thought I was Jack the lad and when I came out I was devastated.

"They've absolutely broken me. I am so happy the last of them have finally been jailed."

Onslow, now 73, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years, whilst John McGee, 75, was handed a two year, 10 month sentence and Kevin Blakely, 67, received two years, nine months.

Mr Skillen said officer Greenwell forced him to tell hospital staff that he had fallen over and smashed his head open after he was attacked by Onslow.

He spent three months in the detention centre, near Consett, County Durham, after being convicted at Carlisle Crown Court of theft, criminal damage and police obstruction in 1977.

During a series of trials jurors were told how violence at the detention centre was common place and widespread and had a devastating impact on victims.

Mr Skillen, a dad-of-four, from Cockermouth, Cumbria, added: "It was more like a concentration camp then a detention centre.

"They ran the place on terror. They just scared the hell out of you.

"The daily routine was just violence.

The Northern Echo:

Tony Skillen, one of the victims of abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre

"It was a constant thing, it just never stopped. If you weren't getting it, someone else was.

"Personally I was terrified. I thought, am I going to get out of here alive?"

David Alan Brown, from West Denton, Newcastle was 17-years-old when he was sent to Medomsley in August 1981 for burglary, a crime he says he did not commit.

Mr Brown, now 56, said he welcomed the prison sentences given to the former prison officers but felt they could have been more severe.

He said: "It’s a good feeling that they got jailed.

The Northern Echo:

David Brown, another victim of the abuse

"It should have been 18 and a half years for Onslow.

"At the end of the day I don't think they got a lot of time.

"Two years 10 months – you get more than that caught with drugs or driving disqualified.

"How have they got away with it for so long?"

Mr Brown saw and experienced first time the horrific attacks the young offenders were subjected to.

He said: "It was a hell-hole that place. The memories will never go out of my brain.

"Onslow was a horrible, violent person.

"I was never sexually abused. But there were lads in there that were. You would lie in your bunk at night and you could hear the doors screech open so you knew the prison officer was coming in.

"There would be screaming "get away".

"Whatever they wanted to do to you they did to you."

"They were big we were smaller lads. There were some lads in there who were weak and those were the one they picked on.

"I was beaten up everyday by Onslow."

Durham Police spoke to 1,676 former inmates about the abusive treatment and beatings they endured.

Onslow was convicted of two counts of misconduct in a public office, three charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, inflicting grievous bodily harm and one of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Bramley and Greenwell were found guilty of one count of misconduct in a public office, reflecting consistent violence they inflicted on boys at the detention centre in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mcgee was convicted of misconduct in a public office and assault and Blakely was found guilty of misconduct in public office.

Mr Skillen said: "It was a nightmare. It's still a nightmare to look back on.

"Now after so long I am hoping this is closure for me."