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Dartford woman vows to seek justice for abuse she claims she suffered at a convent

A woman who claims she suffered beatings during her five years at a convent has vowed to seek justice, as hundreds of alleged victims urge Home Secretary Theresa May to rethink an inquiry into child abuse.

Rosalinda Hutton, 57, of Littlebrook Manor Way, Dartford, was one of 300 people at Parliament last week to demand changes after the resignations of two senior inquiry panel judges.

Previous chairmen Lady Butler Sloss and Fiona Woolf were both forced to stand down over fears they both had close links to the establishment.

Rosalinda Hutton at her home in Dartford. Picture: John Westhrop
Rosalinda Hutton at her home in Dartford. Picture: John Westhrop

The inquiry was set up seven months ago but has been criticised for achieving very little. People who say they were victims gathered in London to demand the process be reformed.

Rosalinda was 11 when she joined St Anne’s Convent in Orpington.

She claims she was punched in the face, grabbed by the hair and kicked on the ground while others were beaten.

“After I left the convent I went wild, I went after bad men, slept around and drank too much. I rebelled against anything that offered me security and contentment” - Rosalinda Hutton

When she left school at 16, she moved to Dartford to be with her father Frank, a nurse at Darenth Park Hospital, who she never revealed her abuse to.

It was only after his death in 2004 that Rosalinda filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Church.

Her case was considered five years later but dropped because the judge ruled it fell outside the allowed limitation period to make a claim.

Now she is calling for the UK to follow Ireland’s example by offering compensation to child abuse victims.

In December 2009, nuns from The Sisters of Mercy offered £116 million to victims after they were named and shamed in a report examining child abuse.

Rosalinda said: “From an economic view it makes more sense to me to pay out instead of having these extortionate legal bills where the victims are put on trial.

“After I left the convent I went wild, I went after bad men, slept around and drank too much. I rebelled against anything that offered me security and contentment.”

Rosalinda with a framed cover of her book, 'Cry And You Cry Alone'. Picture: John Westhrop
Rosalinda with a framed cover of her book, 'Cry And You Cry Alone'. Picture: John Westhrop

Rosalinda, who wrote a book called Cry And You Cry Alone, says she will continue to speak out against abuse.

She added: “The moment I arrived, I remember it stank of polish because that was the punishment: we had to clean the dining room every time we used it.

“My dad believed I would be looked after. He thought we would have three meals a day, clean beds to sleep in and a proper education.

“I couldn’t tell him what really happened to me.”


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