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Orphanage boy beaten after catching nuns in embrace, child abuse inquiry hears

(Pixabay/Pexels)The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is hearing testimonies of former residents of the Smyllum Park orphanage.

A young boy who was staying at the Smyllum Park orphanage in the 1960s was beaten "black and blue" after catching two nuns in an embrace at a boiler room, a child abuse inquiry has heard.

The witness, who cannot be named, has told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry about his experiences at the child care establishment run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Lanark.

The man recounted that he was about 6 or 7-years-old when one of the nuns at the orphanage went "ballistic" and physically assaulted him. He said the beating occurred after he saw two nuns in an embrace when he walked past a boiler-room and went through an open door to have a look inside.

"There were two nuns in there and one nun had her arms around the other one, at which point she turned around and gave me a right good hiding. I'm talking about punching, kicking, pulling my hair," the witness said, as reported by BBC.

The man recalled that the nun tried to put his face near the flame coming out of the boiler, singeing his hair and eyelashes.

The witness recounted that he had "blood coming from my ear, blood coming from my nose" after he "woke up" from the attack. "For days after that, I was black and blue, like being in a boxing match actually," he added.

The man said that he only realized why the nun had turned "so nasty" after he learned about the publicity surrounding one of television's first lesbian kisses on the soap "Brookside." "She was obviously kissing another nun, that's what I think," he said.

He told the inquiry in Edinburgh that physical abuse in the form of slaps and kicks were routine "for trivial stuff."

The man said that was later moved to another institution in England, where he experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a trainee priest. He said that the enforced move had "robbed" him of his Scottish identity.

Another witness spoke of regular "thunderous" beatings he received at the hands of the nuns and said that he now has "an absolute fear of nuns" because of the physical, emotional and mental "torture" he suffered at Smyllum.

The other witness, who also cannot be named, said he was taken to the orphanage for a time at the age of four following the death of his mother. During his time there, he said that the nuns would beat him, kick him and strike with objects like wooden coat hangers. "The punishments were frequent and the beatings were thunderous," he said.

The inquiry, chaired by Lady Smith, will later be examining the claims that bodies of at least 400 children were buried in an unmarked mass grave near Smyllum Park.

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