A former resident of an orphanage in Scotland has told a child abuse inquiry that a six-year-old boy had died 10 days after being beaten by a nun.
A man, identified only by the pseudonym David, is providing testimony at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry about the historical abuse allegedly committed by nuns and staff at the Smyllum House, a children's home in Lanark run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul that closed down in 1981.
In September, it was reported that the bodies of up to 400 boys and girls were buried in unmarked graves after dying at the home from diseases like TB, pneumonia and pleurisy, mostly between 1870 and 1930.
David, who is one of 23 former residents due to give evidence in person, said that physical abuse was routine in the home and the children were beaten and verbally abused for the slightest mistake.
He recalled that his six-year-old friend, Sammy Carr, had been hospitalized after a nun repeatedly kicked him in the head and upper body. David said he last saw Carr being taken into an ambulance, after spending 10 days in the Smyllum House sick bay. He recalled that the same nun who attacked Carr had taken him to see his friend's freshly dug grave.
Earlier this year, a police investigation confirmed that Carr had died of a brain hemorrhage, but there was no postmortem evidence to indicate an assault.
According to The Guardian, medical evidence indicated that the hemorrhage may have been caused by a fungal brain infection, perhaps brought on by malnutrition.
David also testified that he and one of his brothers had experienced sexual abuse after they were moved to another care home run by St. Vincent's in Newcastle. In his written testimony to the inquiry, he described the care home as "just another place run by psychopaths."
Gregor Rolfe, a lawyer for the Daughters of Charity, had reportedly conceded that a male lay volunteer could have sexually abused two boys in the mid-1970s while taking them on a holiday.
A staff member said in a formal statement that this summer, she had told a former senior nun at Smyllum that Brian Dailey, a care worker from Edinburgh, had abused the boys.
The Guardian noted that Dailey had been jailed in June this year for years of predatory abuse of children in residential homes.
The inquiry also heard the testimony of another resident who arrived at Smyllum in 1960 as a baby. Fergie, also a pseudonym, said that children who wet their bed would be subjected to a cold bath and the soiled sheet would be tied around their necks. She also recalled being assaulted and force-fed regularly at breakfast when she refused to eat porridge.
At the conclusion of the first phase of the inquiry, Rolfe had reiterated the apology made by the Daughters of Charity regarding the allegations of abuse.
"As Daughters of Charity our values are totally against any form of abuse and thus we offer our most sincere and heartfelt apologies to anyone who suffered any form of abuse in our care," the statement read.