Paedophile allowed back to orphanage despite sex attacks

Lady Smith is leading the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry
Lady Smith is leading the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry
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A woman has told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry how a paedophile attacked her as she lay sick in her bed at a notorious orphanage.

“Anne” said she “froze” as the man charged with her care at Quarrier’s Village in Renfrewshire touched her private parts when she was 11 years old.

She broke down as she described the abuse which took place at the children’s home while she was a resident there in the early 1970s.

The inquiry, led by Lady Smith, is hearing evidence about institutions run by Quarriers, Aberlour and Barnardo’s.

Anne, whose identity is protected for legal reasons, said she never told anyone about the abuse until she was contacted by the police years later.

In 2004, her abuser, Alexander Wilson, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after being found guilty of 15 charges relating to six former residents and two members of staff at Quarrier’s Village.

Asked by James Peoples QC, senior counsel to the inquiry, what she felt as the abuse was happening, she said: “I felt very dirty. Obviously it wasn’t right; it wasn’t proper.”

Mr Peoples said Anne had described feeling “terrified” in the statement she provided to the inquiry.

“Yes, I was,” she replied. “I froze.”

She told the inquiry her personality changed after the abuse, but no-one asked why and she didn’t tell anyone what had taken place.

She said: “If there was anybody I was going to tell, it would have been my sister and I didn’t even tell her.”

The inquiry heard the abuse had a “profound effect” on Anne and had made her overly protective as a parent.

“I told my children never to be afraid to tell me of anything they didn’t feel was right… even if it was their dad,” she said.

The inquiry also heard from “Alison” who said a female member of staff would lock children in a shed outside for as little as “talking and giggling” in bed at night.

Alison, who was at Quarrier’s Village between 1968 and 1980, said she had some good memories of her time there, including a music teacher who taught her to play piano.

But she said there was a male resident of the home who she described in her witness statement as a “real predator”.

She said the boy attempted to force himself on her, grabbing her and pushing her to the ground in a field when she was ten and he was 15.

Earlier the inquiry heard from “John” who said the abuse he suffered at a home run by Quarriers in Glasgow in the 1960s had left a “deep and lasting” impact on him.

John, who became a social worker after leaving care, said he was “shocked” that during a visit to Quarrier’s Village earlier this year to see his records, safeguarding staff talked about former residents having been fortunate to have had two holidays a year.

He said he believed staff had “systemically failed” to grasp the experience of those in care.