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School was worse than prison, says ex-pupil.

Byline: Wilma Riley

A FORMER pupil at an approved school run by nuns yesterday told a court: "It was a hellhole worse than prison."

Josephine Hanlon, 57, who has spent time in jail, was giving evidence at the trial of Agnes Reville, 77, and Anne Kenny, 79.

They are accused of assaulting girls at Dalbeath Approved School in Bishopton, Renfrewshire, in the 1970s.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard Miss Hanlon was sent to Dalbeath by a court in 1970.

The jury were told Reville was known as Mother Martin at the school while Kenny was Mother Rosaria.

The grandmother, who has convictions for crimes of dishonesty and assault, said Mother Martin and two other nuns dragged her to a punishment room and left her there for two or three days without food.

Asked by prosecutor Douglas Hamilton how she would describe the school, she replied: "A hellhole worse than prison."

Another former pupil, Patricia McLean, told the court Reville was "evil" and called pupils rejects.

Mrs McLean was sent to the school in 1970.

She claimed she was assaulted by Mother Martin after being caught smoking and said: "She backhanded me and I fell down."

Mrs McLean, who admitted she had been convicted of benefit fraud, said she was put in a cubbyhole, which she described as a "punishment room".

Asked if she could identify either accused in the dock, Mrs McLean claimed she could not tell who was who.

Kenny, of Manchester, and Reville, of Newcastle, deny the charges.

The trial continues.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 27, 2013
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