SEX abuse victims of a perverted prison officer at a youth detention centre have been awarded more than £500,000 in compensation.

Twelve former inmates who were attacked by Neville Husband are sharing £528,000 in compensation from the Ministry of Justice.

It followed a legal case arising from their time at the Medomsley Detention Centre, County Durham, between 1976 and 1985.

Husband was a senior prison officer at the time, and took advantage of his position to abuse boys at the centre behind locked doors.

One man was jailed for eight weeks when he was aged 19 in 1979 for failing to complete a community order imposed for stealing a raincoat from a car.

He received £40,000, and said: “The abuse I suffered was as intense as you could get in terms of sexual depravity and could last up to an hour at a time. He was relentless and it has had a devastating effect on me.

“This money is not a lot, and does not make up for what we went through.”

Husband, formerly of Shotley Bridge, near Consett, was sentenced to eight years in jail in February 2003 by Newcastle Crown Court.

He later admitted other offences and received a further sentence in 2005.

He was released from custody last month, shortly before the Ministry of Justice settled the compensation claims out of court.

The victim said: “He should never have been let out.

“He is an animal and should have stayed in prison.”

In January last year, David Greenwood won a case on behalf of his clients at The House Of Lords.

The victory means that victims of child abuse, which in many cases happened years ago, can now pursue successful damages claims in the courts.

Husband became a church minister on leaving the prison service.

Mr Greenwood said: “The victims have finally achieved recognition, and I hope this case shows that those who have suffered abuse can come forward feeling confident that the legal system will take them seriously and treat them with sympathy.

“The success of this case demonstrates that the legal system is working for many victims of childhood abuse.”