Witness to child abuse inquiry questions allegations against convicted Motherwell paedophile

John Farrell was sent to prison for five years in August 2016
John Farrell was sent to prison for five years in August 2016

A witness to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has questioned whether allegations against a convicted Motherwell paedophile were true.

John Farrell was convicted of physically abusing one boy and sexually abusing three others at St Ninian’s School in Falkland, Fife, between 1979 and 1983, where he was the headmaster.

In August 2016 he was jailed for five years following a 13-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow, his co-accused Paul Kelly was sentenced to ten years for abusing three boys.

Former teacher Chris Brown worked at the Congregation of Christian Brothers-run List G residential school for four months in 1981.

He waived his right to anonymity as he gave evidence today (Tuesday).

Mr Brown told the inquiry he would be “surprised” if the allegations made against Farrell were true.

He added: “I can’t imagine someone being like that with kids, I don’t even know the allegations.

“In my own mind I have my doubts about their conviction because I know (Kelly) as such a good person - I don’t know him as anything else.”

Mr Brown would also describe Kelly as being a “father figure” and having a “heart of gold”.

Kelly will give evidence to the inquiry on Thursday, via video link from prison, and it is anticipated Farrell will do likewise.