A witness told a court yesterday he had been brought up with abuse in an Edinburgh institution until he left at the age of eight.

He said carer Gordon Knott, 43, had subjected him to years of abuse while he stayed in Clerwood Children's Home, in Clermiston Road in the 1970s.

He told the High Court in Edinburgh that Mr Knott would take him to an upstairs bathroom in the home and carry out sex acts after stripping.

''It started when I was about three and it carried on until I left,'' he said.

The man, who is now 29, said he had been taken into care at the age of two and remained at Clerwood Children's Home until shortly before his ninth birthday.

He was asked if any member of staff at the home had done anything to him which he now considered ''inappropriate or wrong''. The man said he had been sexually abused by Knott.

He said the abuse happened regularly, sometimes twice and sometimes three times a week.

Advocate-depute Philip Brodie QC asked if he ever objected, and the man replied: ''I was a bit too young to actually understand what was going on.''

Mr Knott, of Dunsyre Road, Newbigging, in Lanarkshire, is one of three men standing trial for alleged offences against children. He has denied 23 charges, including rape, sodomy, and indecency.

The offences are alleged to have been committed at Clerwood and Glenallan Children's Homes, in Edinburgh, at a campsite in Skye, a caravan park in Wigtownshire and a chapel house in Invernesshire.

A co-accused, Mr Michael Cull, 43, of Greyfriars Hostel, in Edinburgh, is charged with two offences of sodomy, allegedly committed between 1980 and 1983. The third accused, Mr Brian Maclennan, 51, of West Pilton Loan, Edinburgh, faces 14 charges, including rape, sodomy, and indecency, dating back to 1976.

Mr Maclennan, the former officer in charge in Dean House Children's Home, in Ravelston Park, Edinburgh, was described as running the establishment in an ''autocratic'' way by a social worker.

Miss Irene Fyfe, 45, worked at the home in the early 1980s and said there had been an allegation of sexual wrongdoing against Maclennan by a young girl.

The trial, before Lord Bonomy, continues.