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Tuesday, 29 August, 2000, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Child 'locked away with dead body'
Sister Alphonso
Sister Alphonso faces 22 charges
An alleged victim of a nun facing cruelty charges has told a court that she was locked in a chapel where a dead body lay in an open coffin.

Sister Alphonso is said to have committed the offences while working at Roman Catholic children's homes in Aberdeenshire between 1965 and 1980.

The charges
Marie Docherty faces 22 charges, all of which are denied
The charges date from 1965 to 1980
They include - forcing girls to kiss dead nuns
Punching, slapping and kicking girls
Forcing girls to wear soiled underwear
The trial is expected to last up to six weeks
Anne Stewart told Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Tuesday that she was staying at Nazareth House in the city when a nun died.

All the children were taken to the home's chapel to see the body.

But Mrs Stewart, now 42, ran out screaming when one of the youngsters hit the coffin.

She said Sister Alphonso came after her, brought her back and locked her in the chapel with the body.

Mrs Stewart said Sister Alphonso was like a "Jeykll and Hyde character".

One day she would be "all right" and the next she would be shouting like "a mad woman".

Last week, the accused was acquitted of one of the 23 charges against her.

Sister Alphonso denies all the remaining charges.

The trial continues.

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See also:

25 Aug 00 | Scotland
Cruelty charge falls after collapse
23 Aug 00 | Scotland
Nun 'punched' sick girl
21 Aug 00 | Scotland
Court told of bed-wetting ordeal
18 Aug 00 | Scotland
Nun 'wicked' says ex-resident
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