Abuse inquiry will “achieve little” says victim

Abuse survivors from the campaign group S.A.F.E held a vigil outside Rosebury House, Edinburgh on the day the inquiry began. Pic: Lisa Ferguson.
Abuse survivors from the campaign group S.A.F.E held a vigil outside Rosebury House, Edinburgh on the day the inquiry began. Pic: Lisa Ferguson.

A man who suffered abuse at the hands of a notorious paedophile says he has little faith a Scottish inquiry will achieve closure for victims.

St Margaret’s in Elie and Linnwood Hall in Leven are among 60 establishments under scrutiny by Lady Smith in a Scottish abuse inquiry which began last week in Edinburgh.

The homes were witness to one of the worst abuse scandals Scotland has ever known, mainly due to David Murphy, who was later jailed for 15 years.

But Sandy Reid, who fell prey to Murphy at St Margaret’s, is sceptical that the national enquiry is capable of revealing any truth from the point of view of victims.

“There’s probably some well-minded people in there but they are not powerful enough,” he said.

“The only people coming forward are those from religious organisations, especially Catholic priests

“But what of non-religious abusers, the police?”

He added: “There are no victims taking part in this inquiry, other than the token number who will be asked what they think.

“They never look into anything fully – they need to interview people that were fully involved.”

The investigation has already been beset by the resignation of two former leaders, the first blaming “government interference”.

Under Lady Smith, the four-year inquiry aims to provide a “public acknowledgement of the suffering of children” and “a forum for validation of their experience and testimony”.

Sandy, who wrote a harrowing account of his experience in a book entitled Never to Return, told the Mail the inquiry would not bring closure to all victims.

“It might be good for some people who just like to talk about it; for some people that’s enough,” he said.

“For others, no – the inquiry doesn’t change anything; it doesn’t stop what happened.”

As the inquiry began, Lady Smith revealed the inquiry team has so far spoken to survivors and witnesses “far in excess” of 200 and urged more to come forward.

She said: “It is critically important that our community engages in facing up to the fact that children in care were wronged and failed in the past and to commit to seeing to it that children of today and of the future are safe.

“It’s not easy to do that, for many it will be a painful process.

“But if we are to achieve real, substantial and lasting change for the better it has to be done.”