A BOY aged seven died at St Columba's College in Largs after being on the receiving end of a 'vicious beating', the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has heard.

The horrifying incident is said to have taken place in 1980 at the Catholic-run school in the north side of Largs.

The inquiry in Edinburgh was told that Aldo Moroni was punished for taking too long to use the toilet.

A former pupil, only named as Edward, said that the boy died after a beating by religious brother called Brother Germanus - real name David McKell.

The 64-year-old revealed to the inquiry that he was at the school in the 1960s and said he was sexually abused on dozens of occasions.

In 2014, Edward’s nephew, also a former pupil, told him he was at St Columba’s when Aldo had been ‘killed’, telling him: ‘It haunts me to this day.’

Edward said: "Aldo Moroni was getting a vicious beating on the landing outside the toilet for supposedly being in the toilet too long.

"My nephew said there was screaming and holy murder going on; it got worse, and the next thing we knew, there was an ambulance there, and then we were at a funeral in Dunoon - Aldo was dead'.

The family relative of Edward's drew a link between the beating happening and the death according to Edward's testimony, senior counsel Colin McAulay QC stated.

Children were informed at the time that Aldo had suffered a heart attack, the inquiry was told.

Edward described how he had feelings of cowardice for not reporting McKell years before Aldo's death, saying: "I thought, could I have stopped that boy from being killed?"

As an adult, Edward told the Marist Brothers, who ran the college, about the abuse, but claimed the order had told him not to inform police.

He told the inquiry he was only seven when McKell targeted him on about 'two dozen' occasions.

He recalled being hauled out of bed in the middle of the night and ordered to climb up to a loft to retrieve a bag.

McKell would then tell him he was 'dirty' and instruct him to take off his pyjamas, and get into a bath before sexually abusing him - then hitting him if he reacted.

Labelling the boarding school a 'cesspit', Edward said he had attempted to run away from the school in the mid-60s.

During the torment, Edward said: "I was crying and you would get an extra slap for crying.

‘I would describe myself as being zombified… I wasn’t able to speak.’

McKell would injure him so hard that when he struck his head his nose would bleed, and would then take him back to his bed.

Edward told the hearing that McKell broke the news that his brother had died in 1965, saying: ‘Your brother had gone to heaven.’

Edward described the brothers at the school as ‘godlike’, and said McKell told him: ‘If you ever utter a word of our little secret, you will never see him (Edward’s brother) again.’

As an adult, Edward said he had contacted the Maris Brothers telling them about his experiences. McKell died in 1998.

Despite assurances given at the meeting that the matter would be passed on police, they were never told.

The inquiry continues.