A former resident of a Catholic orphanage has told an inquiry how she was beaten by nuns for asking her sister to take her out of the home.

June Smith, who waived her right to anonymity, moved in to Smyllum Park in Lanark, South Lanarkshire, in 1969 when she was about three or four.

She told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in Edinburgh that residents would be hit with a belt or brush by nuns and staff would discuss who they were going to "pick on" each day.

Loading article content

READ MORE: Witness tells child abuse inquiry that hunger forced him to eat grass

Ms Smith said: "I tried to tell my sister. She phoned me and I was really upset and asked her if she could get me out.

"They overheard me. I was hit for that."

She also told how she persistently wet the bed until she was 15, which saw her severely punished by staff and nuns.

This included being pulled out of bed, put in a cold bath, covered in disinfectant used on mattresses and having knuckles pushed into her head.

She added that children who wet their beds were made to carry their sheets up a hill so everybody knew what had happened, which meant they would be bullied.

Ms Smith also told how, from the age of six, she was woken up during the night and made to take tablets to stop bedwetting.

She added: "I (still) wake up every night. When I get to sleep I'm alright until 2am, then that's me until 6am or 7am."

Another witness told how his time at Smyllum, which was run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, means he avoids certain meals with his family.

He was moved to the home in 1974, aged around eight years old, and left in 1981 but said his time there still impacts his life.

Punishments included being beaten with "Jesus slippers" and being locked in a dark room, he told the inquiry.

The witness said: "What was put in front of you, you had to eat - we were getting force-fed.

"The sister would come behind you, hold your nose and ram it down you.

"When my partner cooks, she will make macaroni, lasagna or pasta. The smell... I just have to get away from it."

READ MORE: Witness tells child abuse inquiry that hunger forced him to eat grass

The witness said "70%" of his time at the home was enjoyable and he saw one of the nuns and a worker at the home as parent figures.

Colin MacAuley QC, counsel to the inquiry, put it to the witness that a particular nun has been spoken to by the inquiry and does not accept there were any beatings during her time there. The witness added: "That's a lie."

Another witness told how a worker almost "suffocated" him on his first night at Smyllum in 1973, aged six.

He said he was shoved into his tightly-made bed by the man, who then sat on the pillow end so he could not get out.

The witness, who said this treatment happened a number of times, added: "After a couple of minutes I would be let out and he would be standing there laughing at me."

The inquiry before Lady Smith continues.