Inquiry urged over child experiment claims

It is claimed Lennox Castle Hospital staff worked with Porton Down on drug trials involving children

It is claimed Lennox Castle Hospital staff worked with Porton Down on drug trials involving children

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CLAIMS that scientific experiments were done on orphans and the deportation of children to Australia and Canada must be investigated by the Scottish inquiry into child abuse, survivors insisted last night.

Allegations that Scottish institutions were involved in drug tests on vulnerable children should be fully explored by the Scottish Government inquiry, according to a group representing hundreds of survivors.

‘This government must always be on the side of victims of abuse’

The Scottish Government is currently deciding what form its historical abuse inquiry should take and how it intends to uncover the deeply disturbing crimes that have been committed against children in Scotland over the last few decades.

Scotland on Sunday has seen a draft submission to ministers prepared by Incas (In Care Abuse Survivors Scotland) demanding that the government sets up an investigation with a wide remit looking at abuse allegations dating from the 1930s to the present. The document says the inquiry should “review medical experimentation that was carried out on vulnerable children and adults without consent”.

Incas does not give details of the allegations, but in the past claims have been made that children were victims of the practice at Lennox Castle Hospital, East Dunbartonshire.

Lennox Castle, which has since closed, was one of four Scottish institutions claimed to have been involved in trialling drugs on children as part of a program run during the Cold War by Porton Down, in Wiltshire. The MoD has said it is “not aware” of such tests and has seen no evidence to back up the claims. Survivors have claimed that six and seven-year-olds were tied to racks and given electric shocks. The Incas submission will also call for the “child migrant scheme” to be reviewed. This refers to the practice of sending children overseas, mainly to Australia and Canada, in the hope they would find a better life.

Between the 1920s and the 1960s as many as 150,000 young children were despatched to institutions and foster homes in the under- populated Commonwealth.

Charities including Barnardo’s, the Catholic Church and local authorities helped organise the emigration of youngsters aged between three and 14. So the children could make a clean start, they were usually told their parents had died – even if they were still alive.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “This government must always be on the side of victims of abuse and we are currently engaging with survivors on the terms of reference for a public inquiry and the attributes of the chair. We want to do all we can to get this right which is why we are arranging events for survivors as well as encouraging views to be offered over the phone or online.”

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