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Quarrier's abuser is put on probation

Greenock Telegraph, 09/03/2006

A PENSIONER who abused kids in her care thirty years ago was put on probation for three years at the sheriff court.

Cruel Ruth Wallace subjected the youngsters to assaults and ill treatment when she was a house parent at Quarriers Homes in Bridge of Weir from 1971 to 1981.

She was found guilty last month of seven charges after one of the longest trials at Greenock.

Sheriff John Herald said the 72-year-old's conduct was 'inexcusable'.

He told her: "These were children in your care and they deserved to be treated in a different manner.

"I accept the offences were committed thirty years ago and what might have been considered acceptable then is not acceptable now. But these children were treated cruelly and the nature of their treatment is inexcusable."

Spinster Wallace, of Stewartville Street, Glasgow was given the maximum period of probation possible. The sheriff said other sentences would have been inappropriate in view of her age and other factors.

During 19 days of evidence, the court heard how a young boy was assaulted when Wallace tipped a bucket of potatoes over his head.

The boy's sister, who had a problem with bed-wetting, was forced to sleep on a bare mattress. Other witnesses told how they were locked in a dark cupboard, a girl assaulted with a hairbrush and another punched.

Defence advocate Jennifer Bain said Wallace had been put in charge of 14 children after hardly any training.

"Discipline was left to her discretion and she was unable give all the personal attention she would have liked. She has devoted all her life to the care of others and has been hurt a shocked by the court case."

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