A FORMER monk who was branded an "animal" was facing his third jail sentence today (Thursday) for a catalogue of abuse and brutality he meted out to children at residential schools.

Michael Murphy, 88, was convicted of 29 offences of assault, indecent assault and indecent conduct against boys who were housed at St Ninian's List D School at Gartmore in Stirlingshire, and the former St Joseph's School in Tranent.

A total of 20 boys, some of whom were as young as seven or eight, were subjected to abuse by the religious brother, who beat them and administered electric shocks to young children. The offending began in 1961 and continued until 1981.

Murphy, who was known as Brother Benedict or Brother Ben, had denied a total of 43 charges involving 29 youngsters at the start of a lengthy trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

But after the Crown withdrew charges during the proceedings, the jury was required to return verdicts on a total of 33 charges today. He was acquitted of four alleged offences.

The trial judge, Lady Carmichael, told him that a custodial sentence was "inevitable" for the latest catalogue of abuse to bring him before the courts.

He is currently serving a seven-year jail term imposed on him in 2016 after he was found guilty of 15 charges of assault and indecent assault perpetrated against boys at St Joseph's.

He was previously given a 12-month prison sentence after he was convicted of 10 assaults at St Ninian's in 2003.

The latest charges he was convicted of included beatings handed out to boys and repeated use of electric shocks to victims.

One pupil in the charge of the De La Salle brother at St Ninian's was force fed by him, causing him to vomit, and then made to eat the sick.

Another boy who was at St Joseph's had his head held under cold water and was pushed into a hole containing urine and excrement.

Murphy, who had denied all the charges, claimed that an electric generator device he used to administer shocks to the children was nicknamed "the tickler" by the boys.

He told the court: "They enjoyed the current coming through the wires, through their hands. They enjoyed the tickler. "

He said he had carried an object made from three long leather boot laces and used it to give boys "just a wee flick on the backside". He said: "You have to have discipline." One former pupil who suffered at his hands described it as "a cat o' nine tails".

One man who arrived at St Ninian's told the court: "It was like Gordonstoun, but run by Nazis."

The former HGV driver, now 67, said that during his time at the institution, Brother Benedict put his hand in a vice and tightened it, leaving him with a cut and crushed little finger. He was later diagnosed with gangrene and the digit was partially amputated.

On another occasion, he was linked up to the generator with crocodile clips and the monk started winding a handle at "100 mph".

He said: "I thought I was going to die. You can't do nothing when you are getting electrocuted."

He collapsed and came round with the school matron, who called him a stupid little boy because his pants were on the wrong way.

On another occasion, the brother asked him to sit on his knee and punched him when he fidgeted. He was concussed and was aware of being touched under his clothes.

He said: "I didn't know where I was. I didn't know what was happening. I was in and out."

He said he woke up the following morning feeling sore and found blood on the bed and in his pyjamas.

Another man, who got sent to St Ninian's before his ninth birthday, told police during an interview at Moodiesburn in North Lanarkshire that he was regularly beaten by Murphy.

He said: "Brother Benedict was way over the top with the force he used. He was an animal. He beat me in excess of 100 times in the 32 months I was there and that's being conservative.

"The beatings were for swearing or for fighting with boys. Sometimes there was no reason. The beatings consisted of him punching me full force. Sometimes there were a few kicks to finish off."

Some of the boys were sent into the approved school system at the time after becoming involved in petty crime, but others were persistent truants. One man explained that he was sent there after he was caught stealing a bar of chocolate from a Glasgow shop because he was hungry.

Murphy was placed on the sex offenders' register and sentence was adjourned for the preparation of a background report on him. He is due to be sentenced on November 3 at the High Court in Airdrie.