Witness denies claims of sexual abuse made by care home resident

Senior counsel at Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry told incidents ‘never happened’

A witness had alleged that an older boy came into her room at night and abused her as she lay in bed.

A witness had alleged that an older boy came into her room at night and abused her as she lay in bed.

Thu, Mar 6, 2014, 20:18

A witness to the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry has contradicted claims by another witness that he sexually abused her while she was in her bed at night.

Senior Counsel for the inquiry Christine Smith put it to the witness, who cannot be named, that he had abused another resident of St Joseph’s home at Termonbacca in Derry as she had claimed in her evidence given on Tuesday.

She had alleged that an older boy came into her room at night and abused her as she lay in bed. She said she was able to identify him visually and because she allegedly heard him talking to other boys and recognised him.

However the witness denied the abuse involving him took place.

“It never happened,” he said.

He went on to deny also a series of claims made by other witnesses against a named nun. They accused her of routine severe beatings. But he said he had no recollection of the alleged beatings although he did remember seeing the nun hitting children and remonstrating with them.

He also denied witnessing any incidents of force-feeding of children by staff at the home.

“I had a pretty good time there,” he said in his closing remarks. “Some were good and some were bad, but the majority was good.”

Inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Hart, announced to the inquiry that a closing date had been set for the acceptance of applications to the Acknowledgement Forum. This is a facility to allow former residents to recount formally their experiences while in care.

Sir Anthony said applications are still being sought, but a deadline of 5pm on April 30th was now in place. This was to facilitate the inquiry’s strict timetable and the requirement placed on it to conclude hearings by June 2015 and publication of its final report in early 2016.

The chairman said 308 people have spoken to the forum to date and 105 are scheduled to recount their experiences in the coming months.

He said April 30th was the latest possible date that will allow the forum to see everyone and allow it sufficient time to prepare its findings. He called on anyone who suffered as a child in any institution to apply by the deadline.

Witness evidence will next be heard in late March or early April as the inquiry is working in closed session in the interim.