A monk at a Catholic boarding school caned pupils until they bled and used a spiked golf shoe on one teenager, a court heard.
Two former pupils were giving evidence in the trial of 83-year-old Thomas Seed, also known as Father Benedict, and one told a jury that bullying was ‘common’ at the Fort Augustus Abbey school.
Tax inspector Sean Stone, 52, from Angus, claimed that Seed had beaten him “in a rage” with a cane until he was bleeding after he retaliated against a school bully.
“I didn’t think it was a caning. This was a beating. Sitting down was impossible and I spent two days off school at home lying face down – very uncomfortable.”
Mr Stone was giving evidence in the second day of Seed’s trial at Inverness Sheriff Court. The monk, of North Brora Muir, Brora, denies assaulting eight of his pupils over a 14-year-period, using a tawse, a cane, a spiked golf shoe and a hockey stick.
The incidents are alleged to have happened between June 1974 and July 1988 when Father Benedict was a chemistry teacher and headmaster at the school on the shores of Loch Ness.
The court heard that Mr Stone said: “There was a fair amount of bullying at the school. I was about 14 and one boy, Luigi, I didn’t get on with would punch me and kick me. I suffered – put up with it.”
Mr Stone said the name and abuse continued and “I decided I had had enough.
“I attacked him. I have a vivid memory of Father Benedict in his black cassock running towards me from his bee-hives and striking me on the side of the head with his fist.
“Then he took me by the scruff of the neck, bounced my head off the ground a couple of times and punched me on the face. His anger was severe, shouting at me in an uncontrolled rage.”
Mr Stone described how he was dragged up three flights of stairs to Seed’s study, and another pupil held him down while Seed caned him.
“I tried to explain that Luigi had been bullying me for a long time. But he wouldn’t listen. I don’t know how many times I was struck.
“When I went home I showed my parents. I had bruising on my face, nose, forehead and cane marks on my buttocks that were bleeding.”
Another former schoolboy, 51-year-old Clark Baxter, a chef from the Wishaw area, said: “I would get caned on my bare bottom until I was bleeding as well as on top of clothes.
“He had a spiked golf shoe and he used that on my bottom more than once. I didn’t tell anyone about what happened to me.”
In a police interview, Seed denied his corporal punishment was “excessive” and claimed he did not remember any of the incidents described by his former pupils.
He told officers that when he was at the Abbey he was caned 40 days in a row and that the tawse was “not that bad.”
But he conceded he was not “infallible.”
The trial continues.