Sunday, 10 September 2017

Mass grave for children uncovered in Lanarkshire

"The bodies of hundreds of children are believed to be buried in a mass grave in Lanarkshire, southern Scotland, according to an investigation by BBC News."

"The children were all residents of a care home run by Catholic nuns."

"At least 400 children are thought to be buried in a section of St Mary's Cemetery in Lanark."

"The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, which ran the home, refused to comment on the findings."

"The research by the File on 4 programme in conjunction with the Sunday Post newspaper focused on Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark."

"It opened in 1864 and provided care for orphans or children from broken homes. It closed in 1981, having looked after 11,600 children."

"A burial plot, containing the bodies of a number of children, was uncovered by two former residents of Smyllum in 2003."

"Frank Docherty and Jim Kane discovered an overgrown, unmarked section of St Mary's Cemetery during their efforts to reveal physical abuse which they said many former residents had suffered..."

"The death records indicate that most of the children died of natural causes, from diseases common at the time such as TB, pneumonia and pleurisy."

"Analysis of the records show that a third of those who died were aged five or under. Very few of those who died, 24 in total, were aged over 15, and most of the deaths occurred between 1870 and 1930..."

"Many allegations of abuse at the care home were also uncovered by File on 4 and the Sunday Post, including beatings, punches, public humiliations and psychological abuse."

"This case mirrors the investigation into the Tuam mother and baby home, an Irish institution run by a religious order, where it is thought nearly 800 babies and young children died and were buried in unmarked graves between the 1920s and 1960s."

"What happened at Smyllum is one of the topics that the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is examining..."

"Two representatives of the Daughters of Charity gave evidence to the inquiry this summer in which they said they could find no records of any abuse taking place."

"The nuns refused to respond to detailed questions from reporters about how many people were buried in the mass grave."

"File on 4: The Secrets of Smyllum Park was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 12 September 2017 at 20:00 BST. You can also catch up on the BBC iPlayer." 

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