Man claims £1m damages over Loretto boarding school 'abuse'

A man who claims he was "trapped in a madhouse of violence, sexual and emotional abuse" at a Scottish boarding school is claiming £1m damages.

Angus Bell said teachers and pupils abused children at Loretto School in Musselburgh, East Lothian, in the 1990s.

He is thought to be the first person to sue the school over historic child abuse allegations.

Loretto school said it could not comment at this stage.

It has previously acknowledged pupils were abused by a teacher in the 1950s and 60s.

Mr Bell, 43, who now lives in Canada, said he was sexually and emotionally abused by older pupils and witnessed others being abused. He insisted teachers knew about it.

Loretto School
Mr Bell claims the abuse took place at Loretto School in the 1990s

He claims he witnessed children being set on fire and having their "genitals mutilated from gang beatings with boots".

He said: "I was a child trapped in a madhouse of violence, and sexual and emotional abuse. Even now, decades later, remembering it can make me curl up and cry.

"We were beaten with hockey sticks and cricket bats daily. Beds were urinated and defecated on by our tormentors."

He also claims to have been whipped with belt buckles, thrown down flights of stairs, waterboarded in dirty toilets, locked in trunks and strangled.

"I was stabbed with compasses, fly-kicked in the stomach," he said. "Every day was a cross between The Purge and The Running Man."

'Eight years in hell'

He added: "None of this would seem out-of-place in an ISIS torture site, let alone a school that cost families hundreds of thousands of pounds.

"For me, we're talking about thousands of assaults over more than 2,000 days - it was eight years in hell."

Mr Bell's lawyers Digby Brown confirmed that a historic abuse claim for damages had been raised against the school.

Loretto School said: "In light of the ongoing legal position and our responsibility of confidentiality to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) it is not appropriate for the school to provide any comment at this stage."

It has previously acknowledged that pupils had been abused by a teacher in the 1950s and 60s. It said there had been flaws that allowed "despicable abuse" to take place.

It also previously said the school was now a very different place which had measures to ensure pupils were protected.