‘ David’s death was cov­ered up. The nuns knew that they hadn’t cared for him prop­erly

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - EXCLUSIVE -

A FOR­MER res­i­dent has claimed she re­mem­bers how the nuns at Smyl­lum Park cov­ered up a young boy’s death.

Josie Drage-Dawes, from Pais­ley, was at the home for five years in the 1950s and says she was reg­u­larly beaten by a nun, be­fore she left for fos­ter care aged 10.

Josie, a mum-of-six, says she re­mem­bers the day David Car­berry died in 1955.

His death cer­tifi­cate says he died from

bron­chop­neu­mo­nia but his fam­ily in­sist they were told it was measles and diph­the­ria that killed him.

David, four, was one of 402 ba­bies, tod­dlers and teenagers we re­vealed last week had died there.

Josie’s sis­ter worked in the nurs­ery at the time and was on shift when David passed away in July 1955.

Josie said her older sis­ter had been kept on by the nuns af­ter 15, when most kids left, and put to work at the chil­dren’s home.

Josie said: “One day she found a young boy dead in his bed dur­ing her morn­ing rounds. We’ve al­ways won­dered what had hap­pened. Now we know. I only hope the fam­ily know David was loved by my sis­ter, if not by the nuns.”

Josie says when her sis­ter told the nuns about it they sent her out for the day and or­dered her not to re­turn un­til night.

Josie said: “I’m con­vinced my sis­ter was sent away be­cause they didn’t want au­thor­i­ties to know they had left a young girl with no real train­ing in charge of so many chil­dren.

“It was known David was very ill so why wasn’t he be­ing prop­erly cared for?”

David’s older brother Leon, who was 10 at the time and in care at Smyl­lum Park, says he was told David had died from measles and diph­the­ria.

The for­mer se­nior of­fi­cer with Western Aus­tralian Po­lice said: “Measles can’t re­ally be treated but pneu­mo­nia can, even in the 1950s. I’d like to see his death re-ex­am­ined.”

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