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Six-year-old boy died 'ten days after beating by nun'

Witness tells inquiry of alleged historical abuse at Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark.

Smyllum Park: Institution closed in 1981 (file pic).
Smyllum Park: Institution closed in 1981 (file pic). STV

A six-year-old boy died ten days after he was beaten by a nun at an orphanage, a child abuse inquiry has heard.

In evidence, a witness, who cannot be named, told the inquiry his friend Sammy Carr was kicked on the body and head by a Catholic sister.

The witness was speaking at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, which began the second phase of its hearings in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

It is hearing evidence about institutions run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

The witness said he was sexually abused by a nun and another member of staff and beaten for bedwetting and not eating his food at Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark.

He had entered the orphanage in 1959 when he was aged around two, along with three brothers and a sister.

The witness told the inquiry beatings at the institution were routine. On one occasion, when he was aged around six, Sammy was beaten after playing with a match.

He said: "It was unfortunate but at that time the sister came around the corner and said 'what's wrong' and I said 'he burned my hand'.

"She just grabbed him and started hitting him and punching him... kicking him on his body and his head. I said 'please sister, please don't hurt him'. She stopped when I lay on top of him."

The next time the boy saw Sammy, he was in the institution's sick room. Around ten days later, the inquiry heard, the boy was dead.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1397441-hundreds-of-orphanage-children-buried-in-mass-grave/ | default

A newspaper's investigation earlier this year found that at least 400 children from Smyllum Park are thought to be buried in an unmarked grave at the town's St Mary's Cemetery.

The orphanage was home to more than 10,000 children between opening in 1864 and closing in 1981.

Prosecutors have said there is no evidence a crime has been committed at the orphanage in relation to reports of the mass grave.

The witness also told how he was sexually abused by a nun and afemale member of staff.

He also claimed children who wet the bed were made to stand with the wet sheets round their neck in the morning.

In August 1965, when he was aged around seven, the witness said he was moved to St Vincent in Newcastle, which was run by the same order of sisters, and told how he encountered abuse there as well.

More than 60 residential institutions, including several top private schools, are being investigated by the inquiry, chaired by Lady Smith.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1397847-police-scotland-reviewing-old-cases-involving-orphanage/ | default

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