Shameful; the Foster Mum Torture Scandal Johnston Complaints Piled Up Bosses Kept Sending Her Kids Exclusive

Article excerpt

Byline: Annie Brown

A LOCAL authority continued to place children in the care of a brutal foster mother despite a catalogue of complaints of abuse and neglect.

A number of independent allegations were made that Ruth Johnston was hitting children and depriving them of food and toys.

Council chiefs missed opportunities to save children from a pattern of abuse stretching from 1992 to 2001.

Johnston, 61, this week escaped a jail sentence for seven charges of assault and wilful ill-treatment and was given 240 hours' community sentence.

During his sentencing, Sheriff James Spy condemned deep failures within the system which placed vulnerable children in the Paisley mum's care.

The adoptive mother of victim Adele McGuire, 25, made complaints in 1993. That was before the other three victims - 22-year-old twins Thomas and Kevin Timlin and Rebecca Forrester, 19 - were even placed with Johnston.

If Sandra McGuire had been taken seriously, six children later fostered by Johnston would never have been placed there.

During a pre-adoption visit, Sandra found four-year-old Adele and another child eating a breakfast of three cocktail sausages while the Johnston family ate a full fry up.

She suspected the children were living in inferior conditions from the Johnstons and their two offspring.

She said: "Adele and a little boy were eating this pathetic breakfast while they were having a fry up. I thought there was a serious problem there."

At Johnston's trial, it emerged her children were fed luxury foods and sweets while the foster children were fed on basic labels and denied treats.

Adele told Sandra she was not allowed to play with the soft toys in her room. Sandra said: "There was a little rag doll that she said was the only toy she was allowed."

Sandra said Adele wore clothes that were old and too small.

Sandra complained to a social worker, who said that a superior ordered her to leave the matter.

Adele was with Johnston between the ages of three and five and was beaten regularly.

She also recalls having to sleep on a bare mattress after soiling the bed, and being forced to run up and down the street in a nightie as a punishment.

Sandra said: "If social work had acted on my complaints, other children who followed would have been saved from years of abuse. …