Glasgow & West Scotland

Girl 'jumped to her death after beating by nun at Nazareth House'

Child abuse inquiry
Image caption The abuse was said to have happened at Nazareth House in East Ayrshire

A former children's home resident has told a hearing a child leapt to her death after being "battered" by a nun.

Anne Marie Carr attended Smyllum Park in Lanarkshire and Nazareth House in East Ayrshire.

She told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry a girl aged 10 or 11 died after jumping from a fire escape at Nazareth House because she had "taken too much of a beating".

She said she too was violently punished by a nun at the home.

Ms Carr, who has waived her right to anonymity, attended Smyllum Park in Lanarkshire between 1960 and 1964 along with her brother Samuel, before going to Nazareth House in Kilmarnock after his death.

She described the death of the young girl at the inquiry in Edinburgh.

The 64-year-old said: "(The nun) had taken her up the stairs and battered her, told her to go to her bed. We were still out playing.

"Somehow the fire escape was open. She must've taken too much of a beating and threw herself out the front of the building."

'Kicked in the face'

She added that police were called as the girl had died.

The inquiry also heard Ms Carr was violently punished by a nun and staff at the home - where she stayed between 1965 and 1967 - for wearing her "convent clothes" to a party at school.

She said she and others had their heads were "banged off the lockers" and were "kicked in the back, kicked in the face".

Ms Carr added: "We were screaming, but they didn't stop."

The inquiry previously heard her brother Sammy died of a brain haemorrhage at the age of six following an E.coli infection, which he could have caught by touching a dead rat.

Image copyright Lanark Museum
Image caption Smyllum Park orphanage closed in 1981 and the building was sold to developers

The revelation followed earlier testimony from a man who stayed at Nazareth House as a child and who said he had witnessed a handyman sexually abusing children.

The man, now in his late 50s, said the worker at the orphanage also tried to abuse him when he was 10 years old.

He said: "He tried to make me do things with his penis.

"I seen it happen a few times (to others). I reported it to the nuns.

"All they said was 'don't tell anyone else, we will sort this out' and the priest reassured me this would be sorted."

He added that police were not involved.

'I was hit'

The witness also said nuns made him wear shoes on the wrong feet because they pointed inwards.

He said: "When they saw my toes were going in the way they made me switch my shoes and walk up and down the hallway.

"They made me walk up and down the hall with my hands on my hips on my tiptoes.

"The moment my heels touched the ground, I was hit.

"I think I'm still intoed."

The inquiry before Lady Smith continues on Wednesday.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites