A nun accused of child cruelty has admitted forcing youngsters to eat vegetables - but claimed she didn't like doing it. Sister Alphonso, 58, whose real name is Marie Docherty, said that force-feeding children had been routine at the Nazareth House home in Aberdeen where she had worked. But she added: "I didn't like doing it to a child. I don't think that I would have liked anyone doing to it to me." Asked by prosecutor Anne Macdonald how she would get the girls to eat their vegetables if they refused, the nun replied: "I guess I would try and force it in. 

"I was doing it for their own good, not for mine, like I can imagine any mother doing."
She denied holding children's noses and pushing at their faces to get a spoon into their mouths.  Sister Alphonso said she had stopped the practice of force-feeding when she moved to another home at Lasswade, Midlothian. 

She added: "It didn't seem the right thing to do. It would have been so much easier if the children had eaten their vegetables."
The nun said she didn't see any of the children choke, gag or be sick on their food after she had forced them to eat. 

She also denied that she had consigned the allegations against her "to a corner of her mind" because they were so horrific

Sister Alphonso denies subjecting 21 girls to cruel and unnatural treatment from 1965 to 1980.
Thirteen alleged victims were at a home run by the Poor Sisters of Nazareth in Aberdeen while the rest were at Lasswade. 

The trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court continues. COPYRIGHT 2000 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday