A group of blind and vulnerable people have said they were physically and emotionally abused as children by their special primary school’s headmistress.

Six former pupils of The Royal School for the Blind in Liverpool have told the BBC about abuse dating back to the 1950s when some of them were just five. The headmistress at the time, Margaret McLenan, has since died. The school said it was “saddened” to hear the allegations and said such behaviour would not be tolerated today. The six former pupils have never before spoken publicly about their experiences at the boarding school in Wavertree, which accommodated pupils from across the North West of England and the Isle of Man. The alleged abuse has also never been reported to, or investigated by, police. There is no suggestion any of it was of a sexual nature. Victims described how being beaten and shamed deprived them of their childhood and led to problems in later life. Rachael Alcock, from Bury, told BBC Radio Manchester: “That woman should have been brought to justice, she should have  have been horsewhipped. She was evil right from top to bottom.”

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