Pair carried out 'horrific' abuse towards pupils at residential school

Matthew George and John Muldoon were accused of pelting pupils with golf balls among a series of other violent physical and sexual attacks on children.

Matthew George and John Muldoon carried out ‘horrific’ abuse towards 28 pupils at Ayrshire Kerelaw school Police Scotland

Two men who worked at a school for troubled children have been found guilty of abusing almost 30 pupils.

Former art teacher Matthew George, 73, and care worker John Muldoon, 69, were convicted after a fresh probe into how youngsters were treated at Kerelaw residential school in Stevenson, Ayrshire.

Jurors heard how physical and sexual attacks were “rife” with children too scared to report their ordeals at the time.

George, of Largs, Ayrshire, was convicted of a total of 39 charges involving 21 boys and girls.

Muldoon, of Irvine, Ayrshire, was found guilty of 16 of the charges he faced. These listed nine children including the rape of two girls.

Two of the victims were abused by both.

The pair had previously been jailed in 2006 for abuse at Kerelaw. George was locked up for 10 years and Muldoon two and a half years.

But, they were hauled back into the dock in 2017 amid new allegations.

It lead to a two month trial at the High Court in Glasgow, which saw jurors convict them again.

The pair had been on bail, but were remanded in custody as a judge warned them they face “significant” sentences in the New Year. 

The crimes occurred between 1975 and 2000.

George had been a teacher at Kerelaw for 29 years.

The school – run by Strathclyde Regional Council and then Glasgow City Council – closed in 2006.

Victims – with much of the evidence recorded and played before jurors – spoke of being abused by George there and at his home in Largs.

As well as sexual abuse, the court heard of physical violence which included children being put down holes while also being punched and hit.

Putting allegations to George, prosecutor Paul Kearney KC said: “A picture of routine violence and it being ignored?”

George replied: “That is the picture some are painting.”

Terrified victims were scared to complain as they feared “repercussions”.

George – who also taught physical education – was described by one victim as the “leader of the boys”.

Mr Kearney said: “You would show off your karate moves.”

The trial also heard of trembling victims being made to stand and golf balls being hurled at them.

George denied both of the allegations.

The court also heard how one boy was booted on the ankles as he recovered from breaking them weeks earlier.

Another was kept in the cells of the secure unit area of the school for more than a fortnight having been assaulted.

One boy was also battered with a mop handle and forced to eat soap.

George also denied on of his “methods” was to lure victims to his home – some who could vividly recall what it looked like.

George was mainly convicted of indecent and physical assaults.

Muldoon – who worked in the secure unit – also put young victims through harrowing ordeals.

He also attacked one boy with a mallet and putting a lit cigarette on one girl’s arm.

A number of the victims in the case have since passed away before they could see justice being served.

After the verdicts, Mr Kearney said eight victims had written statements about their ordeals for judge Lady Drummond to read.

She went on to tell George and Muldoon: “You have been convicted of charges involving sexual and physical abuse on children in your care over decades.

“You will be sent to prison for a significant period of time.”

Muldoon winked to relatives as he lead handcuffed to the cells. George waved to those with him.

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