Our Blog

Released On 22nd Jan 2024

Irish man Steven McNally sentenced to 26 years imprisonment

On 4 December 2013 at Nottingham Crown Court a former Scout leader and housemaster Steven McNally was found guilty of sexual abuse against multiple children during the 1970s.  McNally, now aged 67, abused five children between 1974 and 1979 when he worked at Nazareth House Children’s Home in Lenton run by the Sisters of Nazareth, an Order of the Catholic Church, and as a Scout leader for the Bishop’s Own Troop, also in Nottingham.

On Friday 19 January 2024 McNally was sentenced to 26 years and one year on licence for 11 counts of indecent assault on a child; 7 counts of indecent assault on a child on no fewer than five occasions;3 counts of indecency with a child; 2 counts of indecency with a child on no fewer than five occasions; and 1 count of buggery on a person under 16.

He will serve 26 years plus one concurrently for another 23 counts of abuse.  McNally was told he will serve a minimum 17 years before he can apply to the Parole Board to be released on licence. 

The trial heard that the majority of the offences took place while McNally worked as a housemaster at Nazareth House, which was run by the Sisters of Nazareth Catholic order.

Four of the five victims resided at the children’s home, whilst a fifth victim was sexually abused by McNally after joining a scout group also run by him.

The crimes went undetected until 2016, when the first victim came forward after watching a child sexual abuse storyline unfold on the ITV soap Emmerdale.  Nottinghamshire Police launched an investigation which led to a number of victims being identified.

Police were told the first victim joined a Scout Troop and was abused by McNally on camping trips from the age of 11, including in Crich and Tollerton. The court heard McNally was aged 18 at the time and carried out the abuse after entering the victim’s tent on repeated occasions.

The second victim was aged around nine at the time and the abuse happened on the grounds of the children’s home as well as in McNally’s car.  He told police officers he had been having a rough time in the care home and had been beaten by the nuns.  He said McNally was aware of the beatings and told the child that he would look after him and visit him in the night to make sure the nuns did not harm him.  Instead, McNally repeatedly sexually abused the child, telling him not to tell anyone about what happened because if he did, bad things would happen.

Two further victims told police they were sexually abused from the ages of around five or six, with one telling officers McNally saw the boys at the home as his “play things” and that he would beat children as well as sexually abuse them.

The fifth victim told police McNally “stole his childhood” and that he abused him at Nazareth House as well as at a Nottingham address that was home to McNally’s parents.  McNally was extradited from his home in Ireland to face trial and jurors found him guilty on 24 of the 29 counts listed in the indictment.

Speaking about the investigation a police spokesperson said, “McNally was a manipulative sex offender who systematically targeted vulnerable boys over a period of six years. His victims were vulnerable children some of whom had difficult family backgrounds. As part of an institution tasked with helping to improve their lives, McNally was placed into a sacred position of trust that he then abused in the most appalling way imaginable. Until you have met and interviewed victims of childhood sexual abuse it is difficult to understand just how damaging these acts can be. These victims have all had to live with the burden of what happened to them as children and have in many cases experienced considerable challenges in their adult lives as a result.  As they have struggled, McNally has enjoyed a full and productive life – hiding behind a shield of respectability as a former housemaster and scout leader. He refused to accept responsibility for his heinous crimes, forcing his victims to relive their ordeals at trial.  Their resilience has been extraordinary. Each of them has acted with remarkable calm and dignity during this process and also displayed considerable courage in recounting their experiences to the court. I would like to pay tribute to them and thank them all on behalf of Nottinghamshire Police for making this prosecution possible.  Years of diligent detective work has been invested in this prosecution, not only to bring McNally to justice, but also to provide a degree of closure to the victims. Sadly, one of them is no longer with us to see justice served, but I would like to give thanks to his family for their continued support, and hope this conviction brings them some comfort in his absence".

At Robsonshaw we fully endorse the words of DC Helen Saunders who led the investigation by reaching out to other victims of historic sexual abuse. It really does not matter how long-ago offences happened; what matters is ensuring historic abuse survivors are properly compensated for the wrongs they have suffered.  Samantha Robson has been representing survivors of sexual abuse for over twenty years, fighting hard to gain compensation and often achieving in six figure awards. Sam has dealt with countless cases involving childrens homes, the scouting movement and the Catholic Church. Her caring and passionate approach is extremely popular with her clients.  We adopt a `one to one' approach with our clients and appreciate that they require patience and understanding.  These cases are often challenging and we try to make the legal process as stress free as possible.  Sam comments, "We have adopted our business model so that our clients deal solely with their designated fee earner as far as possible. We do not employ paralegals or unqualified support staff to help with our cases. Over the years I have learned that this niche area of litigation does not lend itself to delegation. My clients generally only wish to speak to me and that is the service that we pride ourselves in offering."

We offer no win no fee funding arrangements so you do not have to worry about up front fees. For a free, no obligation and confidential discussion about Nazareth House, or for specialist help with your sexual abuse compensation claim please call Robert Shaw 01392 345332, or Samantha Robson 01392 345331.  Alternatively please email us on enquiries@robsonshaw.uk.