Two men guilty of decades of abuse involving 28 children at Kerelaw residential school

Two Ayrshire men who worked at a residential school for troubled children have been found guilty of abusing 28 pupils at the High Court in Glasgow.

Matthew George, 73, and John Muldoon, 69, were found guilty of the serious sexual and physical abuse of a number of young residents of Kerelaw Residential School in Stevenston, Ayrshire.

Art teacher George (pictured left), of Largs, was convicted of a total of 39 charges involving 21 boys and girls while care worker Muldoon (pictured right), of Irvine, was found guilty of 16 of the charges he faced. These listed nine children including the rape of two girls.

The crimes were committed at the council-run school over a 25 year period between 1975 and 2000.

Jurors heard both recorded and in person evidence of how physical and sexual attacks were ‘rife’ with children at the school but were too scared to report their ordeals at the time.

This evidence included;

  • Members of staff would lining up boys in the gym hall and hitting them with golf balls
  • 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 battered with a mop handle and another was attacked with a mallet

The judge Lady Drummond told the pair: “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.”

The pair had previously been jailed in 2006 for abuse at the school with George serving 10 years and Muldoon two and a half years. The new convictions followed a fresh police investigation into abuses at the school.

Senior Investigating Officer, DI Ross Black, Police Scotland, said: “Police Scotland would like to thank everyone who came forward to police during this investigation. Their engagement, bravery and commitment helped secure the verdict today.

“We hope that people can now be confident in coming forward to police knowing that no matter the passage of time, justice like today’s verdict has underpinned what can be achieved.

“We are, and will continue, to investigate all aspects of child abuse in these former residential care establishments and I would urge anyone who may have experienced abuse at the school but not yet come forward to police to do so.”

Picture (c) Police Scotland.