Three women on trial for alleged abuse at orphanage

Nun accused of orphanage abuse ‘one of gentlest people’

Smyllum Park orphanage
Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark after it closed in the 1980s

By Democrat reporter

A nun accused of abusing children in a Scottish orphanage is “one of the gentlest people” who would not hit anyone, a court has heard.

Sarah McDermott, 79, along with Margaret Hughes, 76 and Eileen Igoe, 79, are alleged to have mistreated children at Smyllum Park in Lanark.

They are on trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court and deny a string of charges.

Prosecutors allege a number of “cruel and unnatural” incidents happened at the home between 1969 and 1981.

At the time, children were in the care of the Order of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, a Catholic order.

Sister Eileen Glancy, 72, told the trial she was currently a safe-guarding representative with the Order but had been with the charity for 55 years.

She told jurors Ms McDermott, from London, had been affected by the criminal investigation into her which began in 2018.

Sister Eileen said: “I have known her for about 40 years, she is quite quiet and speaks with an Irish accent.

“Sister McDermott has been affected both physically and emotionally, detrimentally in fact.

“She is one of the gentlest people you could come across.”

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