A “SADIST” monk beat pupils with a cane at a Catholic boarding school and gave one “sloppy” kisses in a confession booth, an inquiry into child abuse has heard.

Witnesses have been giving evidence to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry about alleged abuse at the former Carlekemp Priory School in North Berwick, as well as at Fort Augustus Abbey School in the Highlands, for which Carlekemp was a feeder school. Both schools are now closed.

The inquiry is currently investigating care given by the Order of Benedictines at its residential establishments.

One witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, spoke of a priest being a “sadist”, who took pleasure in beating young boys with a bamboo stick at Carlekemp, located between Abbotsford Road and North Berwick West Links, and now a private residence.

The man claimed that the cane was a “speciality” of monk Aidan Duggan.

The inquiry was told that the witness, who is now in his 70s, attended the establishment in the 1950s and 1960s.

He said: “[Duggan] was a sadist, for sure. He would swing at you with this cane, a lot of us were struck from the lower back to the buttocks to the top of the thighs. He drew out this cane and looked at us and we were shaking in our wellies. This was his speciality. He was a great man for the beatings.”

These attacks were said to be inflicted when boys answered questions wrongly, with the strikes leaving stripe marks across their bodies.

A statement to the inquiry by Christopher Walls, who died in 2018, was also read.

It told of claims of sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Duggan during the witness’ time as a pupil at Carlekemp between 1955 and 1958.

He joined the preparatory school when he was aged eight and described the teacher as his “main tormentor”.

His statement said: “Duggan had it in for me, he told me I was a show off and a smart Alec.

“The first time I experienced it was when I got an answer wrong in class.

“He descended on me with a stick – he hit me all about the body in what I would describe as a frenzied attack.”

The statement added the beatings stopped when he was targeted by the priest with sexual assaults.

The inquiry heard that the monk gave him “sloppy” kisses in the confession booth, as well more serious attacks.

He also blamed his suffering while in care for a lifetime spent struggling with alcoholism.

Previously, another former pupil, David Walls also gave evidence he was targeted by Duggan – who died in 2004 – during his time at Carlekemp between 1955 and 1958.

It was heard the priest had a “split personality” which saw him lash out at youngsters, before treating them fondly.

The 73-year-old witness, who waived his right to anonymity, said: “It would be naive to think he wasn’t grooming me specifically by making my life miserable for a while – doing good cop, bad cop.

“I remember the feeling of total relief when he started hugging me, I actually started feeling affection for the man.

“In a sense it’s difficult to understand, but it was a real feeling of gratitude that the misery was over.”

He told the inquiry that pupils used to “joke” about Duggan putting his hand up their shorts if he sat next to them at the dinner table.

The witness also recalled an incident in the teacher’s bedroom which has partly been wiped from his memory.

At that moment of giving evidence, the witness broke down in tears.

He added: “I have no idea what happened, but you can see that it had an effect on me.”

Further incidents of alleged sexual misconduct were said to have happened after Duggan had given Mass.

Mr Walls, now a linguist, said the priest would have the boys kneel and then hug them so that their faces were on his genitals.

Carlekemp was originally the home of Victorian paper mill owner James Craig, who in 1898 commissioned Edinburgh architect John Kinross RSA to build the home. It later served as a boarding school between 1945 and 1977, when it was converted into apartments.

The English Benedictine Congregation used the opening statements in the inquiry as an opportunity to apologise to those who had suffered harm while in its care. The order also announced there have been 10 settlements reached in relation to alleged abuse as of June, with three claims still to be dealt with.

It was heard that funds raised from assets of the order’s Fort Augustus Abbey had been put into a trust to provide compensation to victims.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry was established in October 2015 to look into cases of abuse of children in care in Scotland. It started in May 2017 and has already looked at alleged abuse at several establishments.

The inquiry in Edinburgh before judge Lady Smith continues.