Ian Samson was jailed in 2013Credit:BBC Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The Lord and Lady Polworth Children’s House A sister and two brothers have won record damages of £1 million from the Church of Scotland after being sexually abused in a care home.The siblings were repeatedly attacked by the “snarling” predatory paedophile Ian Samson while he worked at the Kirk’s Lord and Lady Polworth Children’s House in Edinburgh.The sister, who cannot be named, was forced to have an abortion after she became pregnant when he raped her.Samson, 78, the former care home superintendent, was jailed for 14 years in 2013 after being found guilty of 22 serious sexual offences, including 12 rapes, spanning three decades.After raising a legal action last year, his female victim secured £500,000 from the Kirk while her two brothers each received £250,000. It is thought to be the highest compensation payment made by a religious body in Scotland.In a statement the siblings said Samson was an evil man who had robbed them of their childhood and their future. Some of his care home victims were said to have hid in cupboards or in dog baskets to avoid abuse.During his trial it emerged that he kept his role despite being suspected of taking obscene photos of a child.The siblings said they could never escape the torment of the abuse, and even struggled to cope with the memory of the “snarl on his face” as he carried out his crimes.Kim Leslie, specialist abuse lawyer and partner at Digby Brown Solicitors, led the civil action against the Kirk on the grounds of vicarious liability.She said: “Ian Samson was rightly jailed for abuse he inflicted upon children after exploiting his position with the Church of Scotland.”The significant sum secured for our clients also gives you an idea of just how extreme Ian Samson was and how horrifically our clients suffered – in terms of settlements made public against religious groups, this is certainly the highest value I’m aware of in the 20 years I’ve practised law.”Sadly, there will be other brave survivors who have fallen victim to similar campaigns of abuse and to them I would say stay strong, keep going and when you’re ready to talk or take action then there’s a wealth of support for you when the time is right.”A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “The abuses perpetrated by Ian Samson at Lord and Lady Polworth Home in the 1970s are matters which have been examined by the criminal courts and by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry and for which we have expressed our deep and sincere regret.“We became aware of the full facts in 2013 at which point we offered our full support to the victims. While Samson’s abuse of children was wider than his activity in Lord and Lady Polwarth Home, it felt important to us that there was full acknowledgment of the harm which did occur in our care at the time, and the longer term consequences for three siblings involved.“The safety of children is of paramount importance to us, we have carried out a full independent review of the circumstances occurring in the 1970s so that we could learn any lessons for our safeguarding practices today. We did offer sight of that review to the family affected before it went for publication, through Police Scotland, however we are not aware of whether they have seen it.“Whilst this settlement can never undo what has been done, we hope that it finally brings a sense of justice to the individuals affected and provides some small redress for the trauma which they experienced while in our care.” They added: “Our case has never been about the money. Raising a civil action in the courts was the only way we could get any sort of acknowledgement from the Church of Scotland.“It’s a shame that an organisation which promotes ‘goodness and morals’ can’t do the right thing themselves and hold their hands up and apologise rather than force victims to go endure further legal proceedings.“We nearly gave up so many times in getting the Kirk to accept responsibility so we’re delighted this is now over and have the justice and closure we need to get on with life as best we can.“To anyone else affected by abuse – be strong and step forward. You can get closure and together we can all make a difference.”The trio raised a civil action through the legal firm Digby Brown Solicitors and the case was settled out of court.Samson, who worked at Lord and Lady Polworth alongside his wife who was a matron, carried out a campaign of abuse between the 1970s and 1990s.As well as sexually assaulting children at the Kirk-run home, he abused young customers of his ice cream van and children employed at his Musselburgh shop.
Three siblings win record £1 million damages from the Church of Scotland