This revolting, greedy and warped foster mother is another Gertrude Bansizewski. The only reason she became a foster mother was to obtain more money, she had no love for any of these children. The traits are similar to that of Sylvia Likens killer. If you read about the case on our Sylvia Likens forum, Ruby Klokow and look at this haunting, lost, child killer, she does indeed make fatso here look like an oil painting. All in all I'm glad that these children survived and hope the scars heal sooner than later.
Sadistic foster mother convicted of horrific catalogue of physical & mental torture against young children in her care 30 May 2013 07:28
RUTH JOHNSTON painted herself as a loving mother but for years she terrorised her foster children, subjected them to physical pain, humiliation and even made one lick urine from a carpet.
A “DICKENSIAN” foster mother made a child lick urine from a carpet and left her so starved she ate from bins.
Ruth Johnston, 61, treated her own kids like royalty while beating and terrorising foster children as young as two.
Vulnerable youngsters were knocked to the ground, hit with a slipper, pinched until they bled, dragged by the hair, force-fed, put into freezing showers and forced to sit outside in the freezing garden for hours on end as a punishment.
One little girl was made to run up and down the street in her nightdress. Another had her soiled sheets rubbed in her face.
If anyone gave the children sweets, self-styled Christian Johnston would confiscate them and give them to her own kids.
She lived in comfort with her family upstairs at her home in Paisley’s Dunchurch Road while the foster kids were crammed in up to five to a room downstairs.
Social workers kept placing children with Johnston despite repeated complaints, and she got away with her cruelty for years.
But four young victims – Rebecca Forrester, 19, Adele McGuire, 25, and 22-year-old twins Kevin and Thomas Timlin – banded together and bravely told what she had done to them.
And yesterday, they held hands and wept with relief as she was convicted of physically and mentally torturing them between 1991 and 2001.
Johnston will be sentenced at a later date. It’s feared she had other victims.
Her husband Gordon, 63, a former church elder, was cleared on not proven verdicts of three charges of assaulting children.
Johnston denied all wrongdoing and painted herself as a loving mother who nurtured the children entrusted to her.
But prosecutor Stephen Ferguson told her trial she had subjected her victims to “a pattern of real and sustained abuse”.
And as he found her guilty, Paisley sheriff James Spy said the conditions the kids had described in her home “would match a Dickensian description of life for deprived Victorian children”.
He praised the kids’ courage.
Johnston showed no emotion. Kevin said: “She has shown no remorse. Her reaction was one of arrogance and indifference.”
Rebecca said: “I feel relief she has been found guilty. I feel I can breathe again.
“But now we have to ask why it was ever allowed to happen – and ensure it does not happen again. The system betrayed us.”
Rebecca was placed with Johnston when she was two and kept there until she
was eight. She endured constant cruelty over those years, sometimes being hit with such force that she fell to the ground.
She said: “I was hit several times a day. She’d hit me with her hand, a slipper or a newspaper. I was told it was because I was bad. I got to feel it was normal.”
The foster kids were not allowed upstairs to use the toilet. It was reserved for the Johnstons. And like most of the children, Rebecca wet the bed.
After one such incident, her urine-soaked clothes and sheets were rubbed in her face and she was forced to her knees to lick the soiled carpet.
She was then dragged upstairs by the hair and made to stand in a cold shower.
Another time, Rebecca was put in the garden as a punishment and not allowed back inside until bedtime.
She recalled: “I sat outside with nothing, feeling completely lost and hurt. I got so hungry that I went through the bins and I ate a stale baguette.”
Rebecca would also sometimes have to find food in the bins at school. And when Johnston did give her something, she would fly into a rage and force-feed her if she refused to eat.
Rebecca said: “My throat would hurt as she shoved it down. I realised early on that to cry would make her worse.”
Johnston bought two types of groceries – one for her own family and one for the foster children. The Johnstons got the best, while the foster kids were given cheap, basic brands.
Even when they were out shopping together, Johnston would torment Rebecca. She said: “She would dig her nails into my skin or nip really, really hard and we weren’t allowed to complain. It would bleed or sting for a day or two.
“I had to be careful not to cry. If I cried, she would do it harder.”
When Rebecca was five, a wasp stung her on the tongue at school.
She had to go to hospital and her real mum was summoned to go with her, but Johnston was furious that they had spent time together.
Rebecca said: “She walloped me on the head and made me sit on the stairs.
“I wasn’t allowed to have any feelings for my own mum. She used to ask if I loved my mum and I had to say no or she would hit me.”
When it was time to wash Rebecca, Johnston would do it in the sink, using washing-up liquid.
She carried the mental scars of what Johnston did to her for years, and suffered from depression.
But she now works as a telephonist, and is a loving, dedicated mother to her own baby.
She and the other victims are making successes of their lives.
Adele is a shop manager, Kevin is in his final year of a law degree at Edinburgh University and Thomas is also at uni – studying social work.
The boys’ achievements are no thanks to Johnston, who began abusing them when they were three and continued until they left her when they were seven.
They were regularly beaten and locked out of the house.
Kevin recalls how sweets would be taken from them and put out of reach – so the Johnston kids could eat them.
In more than three years, Kevin was given two baths. But he was forced into a cold shower every three days.
And when it was time to be taken to church, the boys would be scrubbed up and made presentable. Johnston had an image to protect.
Kevin and Thomas and their birth family complained to Renfrewshire social services about Johnston, but they were not believed.
“The Johnstons were considered upstanding members of society,” Kevin said.
“We came from a troubled background but we were innocent, vulnerable children. We deserved to be loved and cared for properly.
“We don’t want any child to go through this again. We felt we had a duty to stand up and fight for accountability, not just for us but all the other children who were sent to that house.”
Thomas added: “There were social work investigations but nothing was done.
“In future I would say, ‘Ask the children if there is something wrong.’ It’s easy for abusers to put on a show.”
Adele was with Johnston between the ages of three and five, and was hit 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 outside the house in a twisted punishment.
Adele, who has struggled to recover from the abuse, said: “When I heard that verdict, I felt euphoria.
“We all stood together against her and we won. Finally, after all these years, we have been heard.”
Duncan Dunlop of kids’ charity Who Cares? Scotland, said children in foster care could find themselves in a “closed shop” environment.
It can be hard for them to speak out, or find advocates to speak for them.
Duncan said: “Children in all types of care need to be both seen and heard.”