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Wednesday, 02 May 2018

Scotland 'should be ashamed' of child care system abuse, inquiry told

Written by Conor Riordan

A former orphanage resident has said Scotland "should be ashamed" for failing to face up to a history of abuse and neglect in its child care system.

The witness, who cannot be named, described a life at Nazareth House in Aberdeen between 1968 and 1972 of routine beatings, sexual assaults and emotional trauma.

Speaking at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry on Tuesday, he said his experiences contributed to him serving time in "many prisons" and having a history of "serious" violence.

The man, now in his 50s, said: "Scotland as a country should be ashamed that it's taken this long for this (inquiry) to happen.

"The 21 years since I reported this, it's hurt me a lot more than what the care system has."

The inquiry heard his first day at Nazareth House saw him being locked in a cupboard by a nun.

Despite going to the Catholic-run orphanage with his three sisters, he was separated from them.

After one of them told him his efforts to see them was getting them in trouble, he said his feelings towards them turned from "resentment" to "betrayal".

He added he did not speak to them for 40 years after leaving Nazareth House.

The inquiry heard one nun - who he described as being "calculating" with her attacks - had taught him a life of "fear, violence and paranoia".

He added: "I learnt a lot from her. I learned that if you're going to fight, you had to be devious."

The witness also told of being sexually abused over a period of months by a man in a dark "TV room".

He said: "Someone sat me on their knee, they would put their hand down and fondle me.

"Whenever I needed the toilet, he would take me to the toilet and fondle me.

"That was the cover - that he was helping me go to the toilet."

He added: "It was the violence that stayed with me, the molestation didn't stay with me.

"The violence overpowered everything."

When he finally left care in 1974 and moved back with his father, he told of being subjected to regular attacks by his "drunk" parent.

Regular attacks continued, the inquiry heard, but stopped after he fought back and stabbed his father with a kitchen knife.

The inquiry heard he has been in 24 institutions - including care homes, remand centres and prisons - as well as serving in the Navy, before being discharged for violence.

He told how he later began to study psychology, as well as writing a play and book.

A doctor referred him to specialist help after he "broke down", which he said had been of use to him.

Christopher Daly (pictured), 53, was at Nazareth House in Aberdeen from 1974 until he ran away around December 1977.

The witness, who waived his right to anonymity, told the inquiry how one of the nuns would "lash out" and punch the children, before placing them in "isolation" as a punishment.

He recalled an occasion where he was placed in the "mortuary" with coffins.

Mr Daly said: "I wouldn't know if there was a dead elderly person or not.

"In Nazareth House we had elderly people in a couple of the units.

"If they passed away that's where the coffins would be stored, in that small room. I was terrified."

Another instance he told the inquiry about saw him forced to stand outside in his underwear during the winter. He said there was snow falling which had accumulated on the ground.

The inquiry before Lady Smith in Edinburgh continues on Wednesday.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Conor Riordan / PA Wire.