Former Care Worker in Court over Jersey Child Abuse Claims

A woman pushes a stroller infront of the former children's home in Saint-Martin

March 17, 2008

LONDON (AFP) — A 76-year-old former warder at a children's home on the Channel island of Jersey was remanded in custody Monday, when he appeared in court charged with sex offences against young girls.

Gordon Claude Wateridge faces three counts of indecently assaulting girls aged under 16 at the Haut de la Garenne site between 1969 and 1979.

Magistrates in Jersey's capital, Saint Helier, ordered him to reappear on April 14.

Haut de la Garenne is at the centre of a massive police investigation into historic child abuse claims. Detectives are probing allegations from more than 100 people that they were abused there since the 1960s.

Traces of blood and the remains of a child were found buried under a stairwell at the site last month. Investigators have uncovered a series of blocked-up rooms which were not on the original plans.

Wateridge, originally from Croydon, south London, did not enter a plea at the hearing. He is the only person to have been charged in the abuse probe,, which covers Haut de la Garenne and a number of other facilities on the island.

Jersey police said forensic teams will be working throughout the week in the second chamber at the site before attempting to go into a third. Haut de la Garenne closed as a children's home in 1986 and was turned into a youth hostel.