Boys were 'battered stupid' by nuns

John Heaney

Nuns used to batter boys stupid during daily abuse at a children's home in Derry, one victim has claimed.

John Heaney, 55, was caned on the feet by members of the order of the Sisters of Nazareth at St Joseph's in Termonbacca and said he suffered sexual abuse from older boys.

"Nuns were very good at raising their hands. All the Termonbacca boys have a flat spot on the back of their heads because they were battered stupid," he said.

Termonbacca will be one of the first residential homes examined, with evidence from witnesses due to begin in coming weeks. Mr Heaney made his comments as he prepared to attend Anthony Hart's hearings.

With detectives expected to be watching the public hearings closely, Mr Heaney said he hoped the perpetrators would ultimately face justice.

Victims packed the courthouse at Banbridge where the hearings are being held, pain still etched across some of their faces.

Many have lobbied for a public inquiry for years, spurred on by the holding of similar probes in the Republic.

Margaret McGuckin has campaigned for justice for victims for years.

"We cried out for someone to come and help, to come to our aid when nobody answered our cries. People are answering us today, our cries are finally being heard.

"This is a special day for us today but for too many people it is too late and so many people have passed away and taken their secrets to the grave with them."

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