BBC InsideOut: Tong Park & Kirklevington

BBC Inside Out reveals allegations of excessive physical punishment and sexual abuse by staff at institutions for troubled teenagers across the north of England between the 1960s and 1990s. Tong Park and Kirklevington are featured.



Filed under Abuse, News

46 responses to “BBC InsideOut: Tong Park & Kirklevington

  1. Derek goodall

    Let’s hope that this never happens again

  2. Pingback: BBC InsideOut: Tong Park & Kirklevington | Alternative News Network

  3. dpack

    is there a list of the facilities and police units involved in this investigation?
    the reason i ask is that a while back i was told an ugly tale of his time in a west yorkshire approved school (early 1970’s) and it might be that the chap who told me about it has some potentially useful information about several staff members and although he was relatively “lucky” he was aware of serious misdeeds and he might be willing to assist such an inquiry.

    • IWTT

      Institutions named are:
      – Kirklevington (Cleveland)
      – Medomsley (County Durham)
      – Underley Hall (Cumbria)
      – Witherslack Hall (Cumbria)
      – St William’s (East Yorkshire)
      – Eastmoor (West Yorkshire)
      – Shadwell (West Yorkshire)
      – Street Lane (West Yorkshire)
      – Thorp Arch Grange (West Yorkshire)
      – Tong Park (West Yorkshire)
      – Whinmoor (West Yorkshire)

      Operation Seabrook is investigating Medomsley
      Operation Polymer is investigating Leeds/West Yorkshire
      Operation Tweed is investigating Underley Hall
      Operation Reno is investigating St Williams (previously Operations Bunting, Lapwing, and Aldgate)

      • dpack

        thanks i will run that past him,it might be there are other places that need a close look at .

      • artmanjosephgrech

        At one level we should look at every individual establishments where those under 18 years of age were placed,. committed, or sentenced, but the reality must those with complaints which we know were not investigated or effectively investigated at the time or have brought them forward during recent years and this should also include relatives of those who have not survived to make or remake their complaints again. The film spotlight makes the point that it was only a new editor and a small team within the paper, plus one lawyers determination that forced the Catholic church authorities to admit that it had known that 70 of its priests out of the 1500 at Boston had had committed criminal acts against children, that they were moved on to other parishes and the families who complained bought off and their faith used to blackmail them, and where further investigations after publication revealed that in total 250 priests were involved. Governments and those running the institutions mentioned and being covered by the Goddard inquiry knew and covered up, looked the other way, or were not up the job they were paid to do. Proving this happened in the past is difficult to impossible because it threatens the very existence s of the governing institutions and which those presently in power have the duty to protect. We are all expendable in the interests of state whether a representative democracy or dictatorship.

  4. christopher fuller

    my brother had his eardrum perforated in kirklevington and i was kicked into a broom cupboard by officer harris or harrison.a little barrel chested guy..i still suffer from my hip where he booted me… all my medical problems started there.they even pulled gromets from my ears and i developed asthma and an irregular heart beat in there.i was also ordered to hit other inmates in the gym for a officer they called hairy neck..i was also at st williams but didnt suffer abuse there..

    • Stuart medd

      The name was Harrison . Kitchen guy .what a bastard. He had about 40 lunch trays . You know the metal ones and he threw them at me to catch .cut right across my arms and because I said ouch I got a clip round the ear . In kirk lev you are assigned 2 officers .mine were Taylor and Dixon Taylor was ok but Dixon thought he was the bees knees . He deliberately tripped me up on the corridor .by the infamous fire extinguisher. Horrible place

      • christopher fuller

        i was in st williams before i went to dc..i was interviewed by the police and i said no abuse took place with me at st williams and i never witnessed any.but kerklevington was was my second term and my older brother was with me.(hes now passed away through alcohol abuse),another brother had is eardrum perforated 6 years before.i got clouted by harrison and booted into the broom cupboard.i developed a bad heart beat,asthma,and hip problems..they even pulled gromets out of my ear with a hook on a needle..i remember my ears and head being in agony…i wont be making any claims as im not prepared to sit and worry for the rest of my life about justice…there is no real justice.hopefully others more fitter than me, will.i was wondering why the media were mentioning medomsley all the time when kirklevington was far more feared…was anyone else asked to hit another inmate in the gym? thats what one officer asked me do on trampoline circuts..but im going to be honest and this is difficult for alot of people to understand.when i was a tear away it was old school to expect a rough ride.back then it was part of being a still old school and i wouldnt make stuff up as i always held my hands up and did my time..right now i have my benefits sorted out and im in a better place knowing all this historic stuff is coming out…i understand the government is bringing out new laws to stop these types of claims against the prison service etc…i could be wrong but if anyone was harmed i suggest going to the police and let them know of your situation and whether you wish to make a complaint…for the silent ones be rest assured these people are being investigated and you will get justice…for me im trying to just enjoy what times left in peace…

    • A total bastard, I remember him Christopher.

  5. artmanjosephgrech

    This is a very important developed and explains why the Justice Goddard Inquiry is focussing on Medomsley and opening an office in Darlington to be able to interview Victims as part of the Truth project.

    On of the main reasons behind the leadership of Barbara Kahan a small group of influential women to campaigned to achieve the Children and Young Person’s Act 1969 which abolished the Approved School order, which brought delinquents in the care system when they failed probation and btought them into the new Community Homes system, particularly to Community Homes with Education on the premises was the knowledge that the Approved Schools and the young offenders institutions were academies of crime and places of violence was not just from her knowledge and experience, but that of husband psychiatrist Dr Vladamir Kahan.

    In fairness enlightened individuals with in the Approved school system went to the Home Office in 1970 for guidance with dealing with aggressive youngsters without like for like and this culminated in the book Violence of the Development Group which had been transferred to the Department of Health to which Barbara was transferred having become Deputy Chief Inspector of the Home Office Children’s Department services after being told she would not be appointed a Director of Social Services Oxfordshire in 1971. A book on the project was published by Development Group in 1970 Edited by Dr Norman Tutt the Director at Leeds who was sent to Ealing after it was described by politicians as the worst in the UK for its child care and projection services.

    Instead of the Care concept taking over the approved school behaviour took over the Community Homes with Education on the premises with staff some ineffective at best with others dangerous and harm causing moving into care establishments managed directly by local authority social services department and also running some of the new establishments with local authorities thought a good idea in part because hey were able to run hem cheaper than the regional polling system.

    The problem is either one of the good people not aware of the extent to which perpetrators of sexual crimes were able to flourish better in authoritarian establishments based on fear and violence , or turning a blind eye because the young people were regarded as expendable beyond repair – destructive psychopaths and depraved usually branded as both.

    The film Spotlight explains how one editor decided a specialist Inside out team to establish that 70 of the 1500 priests in Boston were perpetrators and moved around after spending time in treatment centres run by the church which were no more than holding centres Some 240 priests were identified in Boston alone and where the number of perpetrators as it has been among Catholic and Anglican clergy about average for the population in general In Boston and other USA areas the payout became $1 million per case with the lawyers getting their fat cut skimmed of the top and many catholic areas went into bankruptcy… so it was about money as well as reputations damage which formed he basis of the cover up across the institutions and one who worked in a senior capacity who continues to deny this is in my judgement a liar, a fool or just not up to the job they were paid for.

    • christopher fuller

      i was assaulted and my brother 4 years earlier were assaulted..but ya know what im not even gonna bother arguing and fighting for any kind of justice because its just another stress to deal with…not worth it if it takes 20 years to resolve..ive no desire to be compensated.dont let that stop those who have more fight than me but i cant afford to deal with more puts you in a early just making the most of what i have left..

  6. mark w

    I was subjected to continuous physical abuse throughout my eight weeks and three days at this hell hole called kirklevington grange dc in 1979.

    It affected my life so much at 14 years ofage that from that moment I have never trusted anyone In a position of

    authority. …and have held utter

    contempt for authority. …. beyond


    • artmanjosephgrech

      Thank you Mark W another brave victim as was also demonstrated in the recent Panorama programme on Savile victims and all that needs to be said in relation to those seeking to undermine Goddard, the work of investigative journalists, campaigners and associates and police investigations.

      Hopefully what begins to look a conspiracy to stop investigations will be investigated by The Justice Goddard Inquiry as one the 12 additional Investigations/Hearing to be announced in the next “tranche(s) and which was indicated at the time of the departure of Peter McKelvie from the Advisory Group.

      It is important that no one forgets that the last conspiracy was effective when in 2002 the Chris Mullin Home Affairs Committee with David Cameron, now Prime Minister and Tory party leader and Deputy Labour Party Leader Tom Watson also members had the effect stopping investigations as result of their recommendations and which appears to have had the effect of another decade of cover up , the prolonging of the sense of injustice and for some continuing life wrecking havoc. Fortunately there is now a growing band determined to make sure that this will stop whatever the differences in the best way to achieve this Colin Smart

  7. paulg

    Kirklevington DC, was brutal, I was sentenced to three months in 1971. I was taken to reception,by two police officers, once they left I was grabbed by the throat, by a warden, then wacked on the side of my head so hard, It smashed me into the back wall, then he made me strip naked, turned fully around, forced me to stand like this for ages, before being forced into a freezing bath with about 1-2″ of water, and that was just in the first half hour of my arrival. I was then 14 years old, and about 4ft, 5inches tall.

    • mark webber

      Hi Paul….
      You could very well have been talking about me there for a second….yes….everything you say, and more, happened to me. 1979.

      Had some lawyers onto me wanting me to pursue legal action….under “operation magnolia”…..

      It boils down to having to personaly name every officer who ever assaulted me…it was 37 years ago…I cant remember names….and personaly I think itll come to nothing……

      Take care pal..

      Mark webber.

      • Stephen Knight

        I remember some the officers names from 1976 one Bastard used to wake you up on the morning and always either punched you kicked you or hit you with his keys, pure bastard but cant remember his name thats was when you 1st went in and where assessed in your own room for a week? i ended up on reception as i had turned 16 in there and was always working for Mr Dixon he was a Great Bloke but most of the others where Bastards – i had me share of beating like but just thought that was the norm but have been told that my anger moments spell from there !!! who knows Steve

  8. dave g

    I was continually assaulted physically at kirklevington in 1969….i am now being told by solicitors letter that little or nothing can be done…shame on you…its a disgrace! To also add insult to injury in the letter you apologise for the abuse in MEDOMSLEY….uuuum iv never been in there…incompetence at its finest…what hope have i ever got of justice if MY OWN solicitor gets details wrong….DAVE GINNELLY

    • mark w

      …its all a complete and utter PR stunt…..another cover up to save more “professionals” their reputations. …shame on them..

    • thomas

      hi dave i was in at the same time, do you remember any of the names of the officers there , cheers

      • christopher fuller

        its simply not worth bothering..years and years of stress wondering if they will or wont prosecute these save your health and stress and try move on best you can.the prison service are exempt from such prosecutions now they changed the law..these inquires are costing millions and getting people no where…this is me personally.maybe you have more energy than me..just enjoy every day as its your last.dont let em put you in an early grave too.

  9. david bland

    abuse happened to me allso one screws name was scott from newcastle i wittnessed a lad called cosleeky break his own leg to get out of there.

  10. Paul Meggison

    Hi how to I come forward to make a claim against officer in kirklevington prison

  11. martin s

    I was in there towards the end of 1981. I can remember vividly the welcome I received at reception. The 2 police officers who took me there in handcuffs realized once we arrived that they had left the keys back in Lancs. They eventually had to get the local police out to undu the cuffs, once they had gone I got one hell of a kicking, dragged into the bathroom and virtually thrown in the freezing bath.. Once I had done that I had to stand in front of them naked to answer questions whilst they filled there paper work in. Once dressed one of them took me into this corridor and said ‘see that officer down the corridor’ run as fast as you can to him, which I did with him screaming behind me saying faster. Once there this screw with a big smirk on his face said ‘look up there son what does that sign say’ to my horror it said no running— Another beating followed and he was eagerly joined by another colleague. Was then dragged to a reception cell, and his parting shot was Welcome to kirklevington. That was just within the first few hours of being there. Throughout my time there the main culprits were one fat/ginger screw last name beginning with H and a lanky guy from the gym who used to ride a motor bike. They did what they did because they thought we were scum and that they would get away with it and because no one would believe us. It maybe a long time ago but Im ready to stand and be counted.

    • dave g

      absolute bastards m8….they got away with it for years…contact cleveland police on their website

    • Stuart medd

      Harrison was his name .Wot a bastards he was

      • Sean

        Harrison and Blackburn. Will never forget them two pair of bastatds. solicitors in morring will let you know whot there said.

      • Stuart medd

        Harrison threw a stack of trays for me to catch .whilst in the kitchen . Marked my arms but didn’t let him see that it hurt . .. you couldn’t show weakness in there .I never did . I had two Asians singling me out . Screws knew about it but did nothing . I dealt with it my way . One by one . I got caught for the 2nd one coz he grassed me up and I lost 2 days remission . Total wankers

  12. Dave Barrett

    I was there in 77 got a kicking most days was a poor guy the screws called “popeye” who got the worst of it.I worked in the kitchens yes he was a bastard in there.I have contacted operation magnolia…don’t want money I have done well for myself I just want someone to say it was wrong

  13. Mrs w

    My husband and 12 others have testified against two dirty old bastards.20+ charges against them both in Leeds….can you believe after a 5 week trial they were found not guilty!! Where’s the justice in that? The jury were talking to their families outside and the judge knew! One jury member knew one of the lads who testified and he got was a total disgrace but I’m proud of my husband for standing there,looking them straight in the face and telling the court what he had to endure as a little boy.

    • Stuart medd

      Mrs .w . Was your husband in East moor leeds or Kirklevington . Would love to know who got off and why .may I say your hubby is a brave fella .I couldn’t do it . My time in Kirklevington especially and especially Harrison and kinsella . Keep well

  14. mark w

    ive just read my quote from a reporter….julia breen @the echo…..quoting me in the paper….anonimously….but it does make you wonder…is she affiliated in any way to this site?..

  15. I was in Kirklevington over Christmas 1984 aged 15, like most of the lads in there i too was from a dysfunctional home, namely my father who was the proverbial drunken bully! The last thing any vulnerable kid needs at that age in that situation is to be beaten daily by ex squaddies and pot bellied middle aged men. But Leon Britain obviously thought otherwise, yes that empty headed bastard who put the penal system in reverse by about 25 fucking years! Amazing how many lads suffered perforated eardrums in there, me included. I felt the wrath off most of the screws in there, Harrison (slaps, punches, kicks, ear pulling) Blackburn (same treatment) a rodent Scot called Sinclair, a tall sadistic gym screw with a ball head, Dixon, Howes, Treggoning, Kinsella, Parker (the evil old man in the workshop) Dodds and all the rest of the bullying cockroaches! I was scrubbing the corridor one day with another young lad with one of those horrible square scrubbers when Blackburn came up and kicked him straight in the face for no reason what so ever, blood all over, the lad sparked out. Blackburn revived him then conveniently had him put on the hospital wing out the way, this was common practice when i was in, if the bullies went over the top with you, in the hospital wing you would go, tucked out the way of the governor inspection which were on Sundays in the huge drill yard out front. However, you did get better food while you were “recovering” from your injuries, all intended to keep you from saying anything, yet who was going to listen? That place was rotten from the root to the fruit and that oppressive regime i was part of still haunts my everyday life, the consequences are far reaching. Their collective actions embittered rather than reformed young impressionable minds, we were lost souls, lacking love, emotionally neglected, some born into a cycle of hate, greed and spite, inside we were screaming for help, but burdened with yet more pain and mental anguish. It was simply a continuation of what we were already encountering within the walls of our homes. Pity the boys who are now men and who are struggling with this, because i know i truly am.

    • christopher fuller

      my brother 6 years previous to me got his ear perforated in kirklevington.3 members of my family went there.i remember all them screws..i heard hairy neck had died years ago but those officers were bullies with a free mandate..under the short sharp shock treatment..people were never the same after them places..

    • christopher fuller

      i was at st williams school too where sexual abuse took place..i was not abused there but i believe others were from the convictions they secured..i do not believe they will listen over kirklevington because they will probably be exempt of guilt by nature of the strict sentences and punishment guide lines handed down at the time..some people wait years for justice and get no where so i would be cautious if going down that route as it consumes your life..i suggest be open about your situation and getting your illnesses and concerns recorded by doctors and social workers etc so they know your back ground and can probably help get you back into normal life of some sorts..some people cant be helped as they have turned to drink etc or are homeless and dont want to be matter how fit you are now or established as a person its worth going to talk to someone.especially about traumatic events.

      • Sagree in principle but it must be for each individual to decide when & who they talk to and what they want to achieve by doing so.
        The Truth project of the statutory child sexual abuse inquiry is one source although having established an office to cover the north east the contract to provide support has only just been awarded and my understanding is that the support will only apply to involvement with the processes of the inquiry including making reference to the police if this is something the individual wishes to do.

        Many if not most of those who survive the original events are likely to need help across a range of services and for varying periods of time.

        Clearly if the individual wants their perpetrator(s) to be interviewed by the police they can do this direct, they need to be told the difficulties of bringing anyone though the police, prosecution process to court and getting a conviction unless there is hard evidence beyond all reasonable doubt which given the passage of time and often now the absence of contemporary records becomes increasingly difficult. A balance of probabilities only applies in non criminal matters.

        My concern remains that unless the individual is made fully aware of what the possible outcome will be there will be more harm but reliving the horror and nightmare of what happened and more disappointment. I sometimes mention my experience of working with or for people with congenital birth disability who at one level understandably wanted officialdom to take the disability away…. then I found it it difficult to look people back in eye as I knew that was not possible, where as now developments are enabling disabled individuals to live as full, satisfying lives as anyone. The additional problem for those disabled by accident or medical pharmaceutical negligence, is the sometimes unjustified sense of guilt at being the victim and which also applies to children, the victims of domestic violence, mugged in the street or falling for some fraud con track. The impact of what may appar a comparativial incident can be the same as some more evidently severe. This kind of personal assessment and personal help plan is only available to day for those with wealth so it is aways important t be reasistic about the prospect of justice or getting them needed. Colin Smart

      • christopher fuller

        the government needs to recognise that the survivors need help to function in a normal society.there is enough evidence to suggest that abuse took place.instead of offering people false hope through the courts as time has elapsed maybe they should get priority benefit…a seperate body that deals with abuse victims and there they can start functioning now..they should be offered safe housing at the very least..if these people have carried on with crime then it really didnt affect them as much as it did some.they will carry on committing crime whatever excuse..the ones who were traumatised by the short sharp shock treatment didnt always go on to commit crime but they became drug addicts or alcoholic rather go back into burglary etc.they became dependent on the state..the welfare state they put all these people in the same places.creating more trouble..all im saying is the least least the authorities can do is recognise that people were badly affected by detention centre…stop the solicitors making millions from victims and start recognising the ones who have a case and priority…whether the government will take notice is up to them but on a practical level all cases must be heard..when people start feeling secure they can start working more and get reduced benefits but the safety net needs to be in place now for those victims.

      • I agree the other aspect forgot to mention is that the my understanding is that the Truth project is still wedded to those who were sexually abused and this appears to exclude all those who suffered physical violence , medication experimentation and other forms of behaviour control and behaviour changing over which they and often their parents, social workers had no knowledge let alone any control. It is noteworthy that the inquiry has just sked research bodies to bid to do an analysis of social and political discourse going back to 1940 and which cannot be done without taking a close look at the behaviour modification and control methods used in young offenders institutions, and in approved schools and some independent run places and which migrated in ti the local authority residential care services after 1969.

    • Colin, reading your comment brings it all back to me , the names you mention are all familiar to me and your right about what you say. Sinclair & Harrison were b…. Blackburn was ok with me because I knew how to play Rugby , he liked that… My named officer was a Mr Howe and he was sound at the time. It was 1982 when i was there, I had spent years in approved schools before the shit hole of Kirklev, beaten up several times as a kid because i kept running away. I was 16 by the time i went to Kirklev and I hate to say it, by that time exposed to so much violence I was able to deal with anything.- I can assure you mate i was better off locked up than being at home. Regardless of my personal life i know where your coming from in the brilliant way you explained the above.. I have done ok in my life which has not been easy., i have been dogged by my past and always believed that the short sharp shock was wrong. I read your words and I know 100% where you are coming from. I wish you the best in life mate, I felt i couldn’t come forward, i will now because of you. , Take Care mate, your not alone. Al.

  16. Patrick

    I was in kirklevington dc in 1982.. was beat up on first day for leaning on the door frame with my hands in my pocket, ended up with a broken nose two black eyes and cracked tooth..i didnt know it wasnt allowed…..was also beaten up for asking to use the toilet at night…I was flung on my bed and punched tipped on the floor then kicked around like a football…from that night i pissed in my shoes and poured it out of the window if needed.. many times slapped round the head wen polishing the floors many times with a bunch of keys..the screws thought this was very funny at the time…three weeks this sort of thing would go on , then it would calm down wen you got a brown tie…but you would see the same thing happening to the new inmates…cruelty at it best…Harrison only screw i remember ..horrible one word to describe him

    • christopher fuller

      it was ran by a bunch of facist..harrison was the bully,a barrel chested guy who walked like a penguin..hairy neck was another who ran the gym.hes dead i heard..he used to get inmates to beat each other up in gym class.harrison was not a nice man..i did two terms.and my brothers did a term each..second time round i never got any bullshit..just had to get through the first 3 weeks..i still think without the bullying it did people was meant to shock..

  17. mark w

    Political Cover up…!!!…..why after all these years is an “investigation” being done???……most the perpetrators are either dead now or at deaths door…..its just a complete cover up………but heres my main question, why is all the emphisis being put on the perpetrators, and not those responsible for hiring them?, namely the home office!!…..?……its all a cover up!!

    • dave g

      deadlines come and go with nothing seemingly on the horizon regarding charges tbh. More than enough time has passed for this to have been resolved and charges to have been brought….yet more injustice if you want my opinion….wankers….i will NEVER forget what they done to me

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