Man settles claim over ‘sadistic’ treatment by Londonderry nun

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A man allegedly subjected to “sadistic” beatings by a nun at a children’s home in Londonderry is to receive undisclosed damages.

Karl Roberts will receive the pay-out as part of a settlement reached in a legal action against the Sisters of Nazareth, according to his lawyer.

He claimed that he endured regular violent punishment for failing to collect enough fluff from floors and furniture in the residence. Proceedings were resolved at the High Court in Belfast on Monday, with no admission of liability by the defendant.

Mr Roberts, 49, sued over physical abuse he claims to have suffered during his two-and-half-year stay at a Sisters of Nazareth-run home. He was put into care as an infant due to the health of his mother.

His solicitor, Brian Archer, confirmed the case centred on alleged physical abuse repeatedly perpetrated by one nun.

Referring to his client’s case, Mr Archer said: “He was allegedly required to gather balls of fluff from carpets, hallways and furnishings. If he didn’t gather a big enough ball of fluff, as judged by this particular nun, our case is that he was then beaten repeatedly. It was extremely sadistic, it became that he was terrified.”

Mr Roberts was eventually returned to his mother’s care, and moved with her to England when she re-married. But according to a consultant psychiatrist in the case, he has displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Papers in the action refer to him being troubled by memories of the past, intrusive recollections and flashbacks.

His lawyer added that it was only in 2012 that Mr Roberts felt able to describe his childhood.

“I was the first person he had ever spoken to about what happened to him,” Mr Archer said.

“He still lives in England, he’s married and he feels that taking the case has helped put it behind him.”

Referring to the settlement reached, the solicitor confirmed: “There will be undisclosed damages, without any admission of liability.”