Anonymity waived at abuse inquiry

Published Wednesday, 12 February 2014
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A woman giving evidence at the historical abuse inquiry has waived her right to anonymity in the hope it will help other victims speak out.

Anonymity waived at abuse inquiry
The inquiry in Banbridge is looking at allegations of abuse in institutions. (© Simon Graham/Harrison Photography.)

Proceedings had to be halted on Wednesday morning as Kate Walmsley broke down in the witness box while speaking about her time at Nazarath House in Londonderry.

Kate, who is now 57, told the hearing that she was regularly sexually assaulted when she was resident there in the 1960s by a priest and by older female residents.

She said the experience had "destroyed" her - but that she wanted to become the first victim to waive her right to anonymity to help other victims who haven't yet come forward.

I had a dreadful experience from when I was eight until I was 12, I was mentally tortured, physically and emotionally.

Kate Walmsley

The inquiry in Banbridge, Co Down, heard how Kate was described in welfare documents as a troublesome child and that she was badly behaved. She said this was because of how she was treated, adding that she had been beaten by nuns and force-fed her own vomit.

The Sisters of Nazareth order has already given an unreserved apology at the start of the inquiry which was set up to examine allegations of historical abuse in institutions.

Kate said she no longer understands what the word 'sorry' means.

Speaking to UTV before Wednesday's hearing, Ms Walmsley said she came to the inquiry because she wants to make sure no boy or girl is ever abused at an institution in the future.

"That's the only thing that has been keeping me going, that this world is going to change and that priests and bishops and cardinals are not going to rule the people and that the people are going to have a voice for once in their lives," she said.

"I had a horrible childhood at Nazareth House. I was abused by two priests and I just don't want that to happen to another girl or boy, and it's the only reason that I came forward to this inquiry."

© UTV News
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7 Comments
Lynne in South Down wrote (167 days ago):
The nuns have said "sorry" and thats a start but its not really enough. Most offenders say sorry, when they are caught! Feeble!!! The victims are very brave and deserve much more than words.
Newtownards in Newtownards wrote (167 days ago):
This is absolutely disgusting what other human beings did to Kate and others. They were supposed to be caring for these children & young people!!! They were a so called 'religious' order, but I wonder what part of the bible gave them guidance for doing this & also which part gave them the justification!!!!!
cath in belfast wrote (168 days ago):
very brave x
Ashame in Belfast wrote (168 days ago):
This church has a lot to answer for in ireland, the unnatural concealment of human desires are part of the problem, let the priests marry and have happy carnal lives
kelly in lisburn wrote (168 days ago):
Kate walmsley is a very brave woman to waive her right to anonymity. I really hope this will help others to come forward and speak out. these were despicable crimes against innocent children who trusted these people. I hope eventually these brave people get some answers and perhaps closure . xx
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