Northern Ireland

HIA inquiry hears of abuse by 'freak' soldier at Lisburn's Manor House

A sign that reads: HIA Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The inquiry heard that a soldier "manipulated children" at Manor House in Lisburn

Two former residents of a Protestant children's home in County Antrim have told an inquiry they were sexually abused by an Army member.

One witness told the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry that the soldier abused him in a playroom and bedroom at Manor House in Lisburn.

He said his alleged abuser bought sweets and gifts for children at the former Church Of Ireland home.

The inquiry is examining child abuse in residential homes in Northern Ireland.

Meat

Giving evidence via videolink from Australia, the man, who is now in his 60s, said the soldier "manipulated us children".

"I think he may have abused other children," he added.

"I believe we were just pieces of meat to that man that abused me."

The Society for Irish Church Missions (ICM), which ran Manor House, has issued an unreserved apology for the actions of what it has described as "an opportunistic, determined and devious abuser".

Hurt

Another man, also in his early 60's, described the alleged abuser as "a freak visitor to the home".

He said the soldier, who was middle-aged at the time, groomed children and carried out sexual abuse "many times".

The ICM has also apologised to the man and his family "for the hurt suffered".

The HIA inquiry is investigating the extent of abuse in religious and state-run institutions over a spell of more than 70 years.

Its chairman, the retired senior High Court judge Sir Anthony Hart, is due to submit his report to the Northern Ireland Executive by 17 January 2017.

More on this story