A foster carer accused of forcing children to eat their own vomit has told a court she was bullied and assaulted by one of her alleged victims.
Rachel Lessels, 72, claimed the two children – now adults – were lying about abuse they say they suffered at her hands at her former home in Letham, Fife, between 2006 and 2009.
The two witnesses are unrelated and were not under Lessels’ care at the same time.
He accused Lessels of violently grabbed his privates, forcing his head into a kitchen cupboard and ordering him to go to her car while naked in separate incidents.
The second witness alleged they were also made to eat their own vomit as well as having their head forced underwater.
Both witnesses claimed they were forced to stand for long periods of time.
Lessels, however, told jurors that all of the allegations were false.
She responded: “No, never,” when questioned on all of the claims by defence counsel Mark Moir QC.
Allegations of bullying from accused
The court was previously told how a social worker and Lessels argued about the first child having his head banged against a kitchen cupboard by Lessels.
She said she could not recall the incident.
In relation to the second witness, Lessels claimed she was regularly attacked and bullied by the youngster, adding she had contacted Fife Council and asked for the child to be removed from her care.
“(The child) was a very difficult child to get on with,” Lessels said.
“They used to hit me, kick me and bully me and say they were going to tell their mum that I did this and that to them.
“They used to love standing at the window looking out for ages.
“I would say ‘come and play’ but they said no.”
Lessels said the witness was lying about being ordered to eat her own vomit.
The pensioner claimed the witness had spat into a bowl of porridge and she had taken it away as a punishment.
Witnesses line up to back accused
The court was told how Lessels had fostered dozens of children from 2004 until the allegations emerged in 2017.
Lessels said she “loved” looking after babies but was less enthusiastic about caring for older children.
Fiscal depute Marie Lyons questioned her about her opinion of the second child after they were described by a social worker as “lovely”.
When asked if this was her experience, Lessels simply replied: “No.”
Five of Lessels’ friends and associates gave evidence in her favour.
She was described as being “gentle”, “caring” and “exceptional”.
They all claimed to have witnessed Lessels in the company of other children and voiced no concerns about her conduct.
Lessels, of Myreside Avenue, Kennoway, denies the six charges she faces on indictment.
The trial before Sheriff Paul Brown continues.