Catholic Monk Who Carried out Brutal and Degrading Abuse against Pupils in "Regime of Fear" Is Jailed for Seven Years
By Dave Finlay
April 8, 2016
|Michael Murphy has been jailed for seven years|
A CATHOLIC monk who carried out a catalogue of brutality and degrading abuse against pupils at a residential school during "a regime of fear" has been jailed for seven years.
Michael Murphy , 82, was jailed on Friday following a hearing before Lord Uist at the High Court in Edinburgh .
The pervert was known as Brother Benedict or Brother Ben to children in his care at St Joseph's List D School in Tranent, in East Lothian, where he perpetrated indecency and violence against youngsters.
Irish-born Murphy denied a string of charges against him during his trial at the High Court.
He said: "I should not be here in this court at all."
But a jury convicted him on Thursday of 15 charges of assault and indecent assault involving eight boys spanning the decade up to 1981.
Murphy was acquitted of a further two charges.
Victims told his trial that he had laughed when administering electric shocks to boys using a hand-wound generator dubbed "The Tickler".
One boy had his hands burned and another lapsed into unconsciousness.
One pupil was locked in an unlit cupboard overnight and another was urinated on by the De La Salle brother.
One 57-year-old man told the High Court in Edinburgh : "Because of what happened to me in there my children never went to a Catholic school."
On Friday, Lord Uist told Murphy that the imposition of a custodial term was the only sentence available to him.
Moments earlier, it emerged that Murphy had been convicted at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2003.
He was convicted of 10 assaults on nine boys dating from the 1960s.
He had picked on boys who attended the St Ninian's List D school in Stirlingshire during that decade.
Murphy had been jailed for two years for the crimes but the Court of Criminal Appeal reduced his jail term to 12 months.
Passing sentence, Lord Uist added: "You have been convicted by the jury of a contemptible course of criminal conduct consisting of the physical and sexual abuse of eight boys in your care during the years when you worked at St Joseph's School, Tranent.
"The crimes set out in charges 11, 12 and 14 consisted of particularly abhorrent and despicable sexual abuse of two boys.
"In behaving as you did you betrayed the trust reposed in you as a guardian of those boys and flouted your religious calling.
"I do not know what caused you to treat those boys, who have clearly all been damaged to varying extents by what they suffered at your hands, in such a cruel manner.
"Your continued denial of these crimes shows that you have no remorse or regret.
"It has taken a long time for justice to catch up with you, but the day of reckoning has now arrived."
During proceedings, a jury heard another former pupil at St Joseph's describe how he was painfully molested by Murphy during a sex attack.
He told police that he had asked the brother what he was doing during the assault.
The witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: "He said he was checking me."
The 49-year-old man said that as a boy he did not know what was happening but when he looked round saw that his assailant was carrying out a sex act on himself.
"As soon as he saw me turn around he punched me on the jaw to make me turn away," he said.
The victim said he had started crying and found the indecent assault "painful".
Like some of the other troubled children placed in the school the effects of the abuse haunted his later life. He said: "There has been a lot of confusion within my whole life."
He later underwent rehabilitation and attended Narcotics' Anonymous."
Another boy was subjected to a rape ordeal by the monk and an accomplice when he was aged 14 or 15 in the showers. He was also warned that if he told anyone of the sexual abuse he would never see his parents again.
One former pupil, who had been taken into care after his mother had difficulties coping, ended up at the East Lothian school where he recalled the Catholic brother administering electric shocks and "squeezing my wee hand".
He said. "I am 44 now. This is when I was 11, but I can remember the shock. It was sore."
He was asked how Murphy appeared as shocks were given and replied: "As if he was getting enjoyment out of it."
Another ex-pupil said Brother Benedict had "a wee box" and when it was wound up it would generate electric shocks through clips or sometimes bare wiring. He said he ran off from the residential school many times in a bid to get home.
One former pupil said of the institution: "It was just run on a regime of fear."
He was asked by advocate depute Paul Kearney if Brother Benedict had played a role in that regime and said: "He was the housemaster. You usually had to answer to him."
Murphy, of Clayton Court, Rogate Road, Liss, Hampshire, who trained as a social worker, had maintained his innocence and told jurors: "As a matter of fact I should not be here in this court at all. I have done nothing wrong in St Joseph's."
On Friday, defence advocate Peter Ferguson QC said Murphy maintained he was innocent of any wrong doing.
Mr Ferguson also said his client accepted a prison sentence was inevitable.
Lord Uist also placed Murphy on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
He added: "You are now 82 years old. I take into account that you have otherwise done some good over the years, but I must have regard to your previous conviction for 10 earlier assaults on boys during the years when you worked at St Ninian's School, Gartmore between 1960 and 1969, which resulted in a sentence of 12 months imprisonment.
"On all the charges of which you have been convicted, taken together, the sentence which I impose is seven years imprisonment.
"As a result of that sentence you now become subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period".