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Friday, 7 September, 2001, 23:00 GMT 00:00 UK
Care assistant convicted of rapes
High Court in Glasgow
Sentence was deferred for three weeks
A 70-year-old man has been found guilty on eight charges of raping and sexually assaulting girls at a children's home where he worked in the 1960s.

Samuel McBrearty, a former care assistant who now lives in Aberdeen, was remanded in custody to await sentence in three weeks.

During the trial, which lasted three weeks at the High Court in Glasgow, the jury heard how McBrearty would go into the beds of girls living under his care.

McBrearty was a house father at Quarriers Homes, Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, where he and his wife Joan were in charge of a home.

Court Graphic
The case was heard by Lord Reed

As the verdicts were read out after over four hours of deliberations by the jury McBrearty shook his head and there was a cry of "oh" from his wife in the public gallery.

During the trial the court heard that on various dates between 1961 and 1968 McBrearty, dressed in his pyjamas, would creep into the girls' room and abuse them.

Giving evidence from behind a screen one of the rape victims told the court "this is the nightmare I have been carrying for 40 years".

All three victims, now mothers, in their late 40s and early 50s, had spoken of what they said were "commonplace" beatings in McBrearty's house.

Charges of indecency against two other victims who shared the same room as the other three were earlier withdrawn.

'Astounded'

The abuse began in 1961 when the victims were aged eight, 10 and 11 respectively.

The court heard that the victims were amongst 16 children housed in one of the 30 detached villas which made up the Quarriers Village.

They had their own school, hospital, church, playing facilities, including a swimming pool and boating pond, and the village ran the various youth organisations like Cubs, Guides and Scouts.

In his defence, McBrearty had claimed he was "astounded" by the allegations.

His defence counsel had suggested the women, two of whom are suing the charity which ran the home, had conspired against him.

Bill Robinson
Bill Robinson: "Heartfelt sympathy"

The father-of-three worked his way up to become a senior social worker in Aberdeen after having originally been a joiner.

The abuse emerged three years ago when one of the rape victims, now 51, went to her lawyer about another matter and mentioned what had happened to her all these years before. She was advised to go to the police.

As a result police contacted all the girls who had been in the same room and after making separate statements McBrearty was called in to be interviewed.

Asked by police on tape why he thought the girls should have come forward after this time, he said: "I cannot explain it. I totally deny it ever happened."

Quarriers Children's Home is now no more. Following a change in national policy for the care of children from large institutions to foster care it ceased to exist for its 500 children in 1968.

Bill Robinson, who is chief executive of the Quarriers charity, said: "My heartfelt sympathy goes towards the women involved in this distressing case."

He added: "The charity now operates in a very different way than it did in the 1960s - a time when there was far less awareness that children could be subjected to abuse at the hands of trusted individuals."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Aileen Clarke reports
"This case stretches back to the 1960s"
Reevel Alderson reports
"It's clear many cases of abuse never reach the courts"
See also:

02 Mar 01 | Scotland
Former child worker jailed for abuse
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