Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Monk jailed for abusing pupils at St Joseph's List D School in Tranent

Michael Murphy Image copyright CIARAN DONNELLY
Image caption Michael Murphy, 82, was known as Brother Benedict at St Joseph's List D School in Tranent

A Catholic monk who carried out a catalogue of abuse on pupils at an East Lothian residential school during "a regime of fear" has been jailed for seven years.

Michael Murphy, 82, was known as Brother Benedict at St Joseph's List D School in Tranent.

He was sentenced on Friday following a hearing before Lord Uist at the High Court in Edinburgh.

He denied a string of charges against but was found guilty on Thursday.

A jury convicted him of 15 charges of assault and indecent assault involving eight boys over the decade up to 1981.

Murphy was acquitted of a further two charges.

Electric shocks

Victims told his trial Murphy had laughed when administering electric shocks to boys.

One boy had his hands burned and another lapsed into unconsciousness.

One pupil was locked in an unlit cupboard overnight and another was urinated on by the De La Salle brother.

One 57-year-old man told the High Court in Edinburgh: "Because of what happened to me in there my children never went to a Catholic school."

On Friday, Lord Uist told Murphy that the imposition of a custodial term was the only sentence available to him.

It emerged Murphy had been convicted at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2003.

He was convicted of 10 assaults on nine boys dating from the 1960s.

He picked on boys who attended the St Ninian's List D school in Stirlingshire during that decade.

Murphy was jailed for two years for the crimes but the Court of Criminal Appeal reduced his jail term to 12 months.

'No remorse'

Passing sentence, Lord Uist added: "The crimes set out in charges 11, 12 and 14 consisted of particularly abhorrent and despicable sexual abuse of two boys.

"In behaving as you did you betrayed the trust reposed in you as a guardian of those boys and flouted your religious calling.

"I do not know what caused you to treat those boys, who have clearly all been damaged to varying extents by what they suffered at your hands, in such a cruel manner.

"Your continued denial of these crimes shows that you have no remorse or regret.

"It has taken a long time for justice to catch up with you, but the day of reckoning has now arrived."

Murphy, from Hampshire, who trained as a social worker, had maintained his innocence and told jurors: "As a matter of fact I should not be here in this court at all. I have done nothing wrong in St Joseph's."

On Friday, defence advocate Peter Ferguson QC said Murphy maintained he was innocent of any wrong doing.

Lord Uist also placed Murphy on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

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