Updated photo of John Porteous

March 2006

VICTIMS FURY as “Beast of Belltower” paedo’ is let out after 3 years

A Twisted paedophile dubbed the “Beast of the Belltower” was released from from jail early yesterday – despite refusing to accept his guilt.

John Porteous, 73, was sentenced to eight years in prison for sex offences against two boys at a Quarriers children’s home in Renfrewshire.

His two victims were horribly abused in a bell tower at the children’s home by Porteous when he was supposed to be looking after them.

His sentence was later cut to five years on appeal and now he has been released after serving just three years in jail.

He has never admitted his crimes and continues to brand the boys he abused as liars, but that did not stop him getting out of Peterhead Prison on early release yesterday.

Victims of Porteous spoke of their fury at the fact that he had been set free early despite branding them liars and refusing to accept his guilt.

Victim David Whelan, 48, said, “I’m very angry that he has not accepted responsibility for what he did to me. He has never admitted it and certainly never apologised to his victims. I feel that he has continued to abuse his victims from behind bars by calling us liars. It’s a typical way for a paedophile to behave – it is very manipulative and is designed to belittle his victims”.

David, who now runs a support group of survivors of abuse in care homes, added, “We believe that Porteous is going to settle again in his home town of Kilmacolm. If I were a parent of a child in that village I would be very worried about his early release. There are many people living in the area who suffered abuse in Quarriers Homes. They will certainly be worried about him returning”.

David has demanded a meeting with the Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson to express his concerns. He said, “The Minister for Children, Peter Peacock, has already refused to meet with Quarriers survivors to discuss our call for a Public Inquiry into these abuse cases. I will now be writing to the Justice Minister about my fears about Porteous returning to his home town”.

Porteous worked at a Quarriers children’s home in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, in the 1960s and 1970s. He was originally convicted of two charges of lewd and libidinous behaviour and two charges of shameless indecency at the High Court in Glasgow in 2002. He won an appeal against his convictions on the two counts of shameless indecency, but Lord Gill said the two remaining charges were grave offences. He said, “They were committed by him at a time when he had a serious responsibility of care in relation to children who were already disadvantaged”.

Last Year Porteous was turned down for parole, but he has now been released early from his sentence for good behaviour.

Quarriers care homes were set-up to look after orphaned and destitute children in Scotland.

Porteous is one of several staff members who have been jailed for abusing children at the homes. Strathclyde Police even set-up a special task force to deal with the large number of Quarriers abuse claims.

Quarriers Homes employees convicted in addition to John Porteous:

Former housefather Alexander Wilson, 61, was jailed for a 19-year reign of rape, perversion and brutality involving eight girls. Known as Sandy, he is the brother-in-law of John Porteous.

Joseph Nicholson, known as “Uncle Joe” was jailed for two years in 2001 for abusing a 13-year old girl during the late-1960s.

Samuel McBrearty, 75, was jailed for 12 years in 2001 for repeatedly raping two girls and indecently assaulting another. Last week McBrearty had his appeal thrown out.

A former Quarriers worker was yesterday given three years’ probation for abusing kids in her care 30 years ago. Wicked Ruth Wallace subjected the youngsters to a reign of terror when she was a houseparent at a home in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire. The 72-year old was found guilty at Greenock Sheriff Court of the assault and wilful ill-treatment of kids between 1971 and 1981. Sheriff John Herald branded the Glasgow OAP’S conduct “inexcuseable”.

Ruth Wallace

A former Quarriers worker was given three years’ probation for abusing kids in her care 30 years ago. Wicked Ruth Wallace subjected the youngsters to a reign of terror when she was a houseparent at a home in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire. The 72-year-old was found guilty at Greenock Sheriff Court of the assault and wilful ill treatment of kids between 1971 and 1981. Sheriff John Herald branded the Glasgow OAP’S conduct “inexcusable”.

Joseph Nicholson

Joseph Nicholson from Aberdeenshire, a social worker known as “Uncle Joe” during his time in Quarriers, was jailed for two years in 2001 for sexually abusing a 13 year old girl over a prolonged period. Nicholson was described in court as “A good Christian who did the Lord’s work”.

Nicholson is now a frail man of 74 years whose lawyer Donald McLeod pleaded for a light sentence due to his current ill health. The Sheriff remitted the case to the High Court despite the pleas from his defence counsel.

Nicholson was originally tried at Greenock Sheriff Court but the Sheriff John Herald decided he did not have sufficient powers to sentence due to the gravity of the crimes. He referred the case for sentencing to their Lordships at the High Court.

Mary Drummond

Mary Drummond also 74 years old had originally pleaded guilty in February 2002 but tried to change her plea when she returned to court for sentencing insisting she had made a mistake due to the fact that she could not read the charges because she had recently undergone an operation for cataracts.

The case was repeatedly continued before the Law Lords in Edinburgh ruled that she could not withdraw her original pleas of guilty.

Mary Drummond was eventually sentenced to three years probation after admitting 5 charges of cruelty. She used to tell terrified children that they were children of the Devil and she had been sent by god to punish them. She locked up children as young as five years old.

Drummond forced children to eat their own vomit and served up meals over and over again. She also locked children up in a broom cupboard and an outhouse. Amongst other cruel acts of mental torture she had a bogeyman figure nicknamed BAW BAW, which was a mop with a grass skirt, that she would terrify the children with.

Victims of Drummond hurled abuse at her as she left court and she had to be escorted from the building for her own safety.

Samuel McBrearty

Aged 75 now, McBrearty was a vicious paedophile who chillingly had risen to be a respected senior Social Worker in Aberdeen after he left Quarriers Homes. He was jailed for twelve years in 2001 for repeatedly raping two young girls placed in his care and indecently assaulting a third young girl. The girls were aged just eight, ten & eleven at the time, his abuse lasted over seven years. He had 19 charges against him originally including the rape charges.

McBrearty’s appeal against his conviction was rejected by the Court of Appeal in April 2004.

We only learnt of McBrearty from a member of INCAS well after the trial of Porteous, but we understand that it was the reporting of these crimes that McBrearty committed that led to the police investigation called Orbona.

These crimes were committed before Porteous’s time at Quarriers and on a earlier generation of children. They are testimony to the fact that physical and sexual abuse of various kinds committed by some Quarriers employees occurred down the ages and was covered up by management.

Alexander Wilson

The one–legged brother–in–law of Porteous was convicted in 2004 for sexually abusing young girls over two decades. Wilson, know as “Uncle Sandy”, was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow of 15 charges of molesting the children placed in his care. Wilson’s victims were abused over a 19 year period and even continued to abuse some of the victims after they had left the children’s home

Wilson is the son of former house parents Mr and Mrs Wilson and the brother of Mrs Porteous. He and his sister were brought up in Quarriers as childen during their parents employment. Wilson, a former plumber, went on to be employed in Quarriers Homes with his wife Jan in one of the cottages.

Victims claimed Wilson abused them in car journeys and while they sat on his knee to have their reading checked.

Some of the most harrowing evidence presented told of the young girls sitting downstairs and having to decide amongst themselves who’s turn it was to be abused by Wilson who would pretend that the girls had not made their beds and call one of them, asking his young victims to switch off the light after they came upstairs. Like all the other Paedophiles employed and convicted of Quarriers Homes, Wilson denied the crimes.

Wilson also abused two young employees during his employment in Quarriers Homes.

It was stated in court by a victim that she had reported Wilson to Quarriers Homes senior management of the day and that, on hearing of the complaints, a senior manager told her that she was lying and stated that “house fathers didn’t do such things”. She was ordered back to her cottage only to face further sexual abuse.

Some of the victims broke down in court giving evidence as they had to relive the abuse perpetrated on them by Wilson. During the trial one of the victims was asked why she did not complain. She told the Court that she thought it was normal as she had been abused previously by another house father in Quarriers Homes.

The abused girls, who are all now adults, were in the High Court in Edinburgh to see Wilson sentenced. The tension in the public gallery was palpable. The court rose as the Judge entered.

The defence began to outline mitigating circumstances due to the current state of Wilson’s health. The victims in the public gallery became angry. One of them whispered that Wilson was not ill or infirm when he was abusing young girls.

The prosecution statement was very short. Some of the women were in tears, which made it difficult to follow what was going on. The police appeared nervous, sensing that someone in the public gallery might try to interrupt the proceedings.

The sentences were handed down for the named offences. Wilson was given seven and half years for his nineteen year reign of perversion and brutality involving eight girls. He was placed on the sex offenders register and David Burns QC also called for a risk assessment on possible future danger to the public. The judge warned that Wilson, who had continued to live at the Quarriers village, was still considered a risk to children. Wilson remained motionless and did not respond as he was led away by the two police officers who had flanked him throughout.

Wilson’s defence team pleaded for a lighter sentence on the grounds of Wilson’s ill health, which had been caused by his addiction to cigarettes. One wondered if anyone had ever considered for a moment the health of any of the victims. Some of the women were in tears. At the end a Social Worker explained to some of the victims what had occurred and what the sentencing actually meant. She tried to pacify them by reminding them that Wilson was very ill and the sentence given to him was not lenient.

Wilson was the fourth man to be convicted of sexually abusing youngsters at Scotland’s most famous children’s Home. The police are continuing there investigations into further abuse allegations

Detectives leading one of Scotland’s biggest child-abuse inquiries believe more victims have still to be traced. In the media they have urged other people victimised at the care home to come forward.

A RESIDENTIAL care worker has been found guilty of three charges of assault against children at a Scottish care home.

Euphemia Ramsay, 59, of Woodbourne Road, Douglas, Isle of man, was cleared of committing a series of sexual assaults against children.

The charges brought against Ramsay were historical – she is now an employee of the Department of Health and Social Security.

The physical assault charges related to incidents which took place at Quarriers Homes, Bridge of Weir, between December 10, 1968 and February 1, 1972. The court heard evidence she hit children with a woodenshoe.

The sexual assault charges were alleged to have taken place between 1965 and 1972, also at Quarriers Homes.