Horrendous Abuse at Jersey Childrens’ Home Unfolding – The Complete BBC Coverage

" ... A child's skull was found at the site on Saturday. ... In respect of the grounds, we've uncovered a fair number of bones. ... "

[TY to Martin Koeman for tipping me to this case. - AC]

New abuse claims at Jersey home
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/jersey/7271394.stm

The building's cellar has become the focus of the investigation

Two more people have come forward claiming to be victims of abuse at the former Haut de la Garenne children's home in Jersey, police say.

At a news conference outside the building, Deputy Police Chief Lenny Harper said they had made "allegations of serious sexual crimes".

He also said a makeshift trap door had been found leading to the building's cellars, which police are searching.

The team have also uncovered... what some of the witnesses have referred to as a trap door

Deputy Chief Officer of Jersey Police

"We've had two people in the last few hours who have come forward and reported extremely serious allegations of crime to us that are alleged to have happened in here", Lenny Harper told journalists.

"[The] team have also uncovered what we've been referring to, or what some of the witnesses have referred to, as a trap door when they've been talking about offences that were committed in that cellar area", he said.

"It is in effect a space in the floor boards but the existence of it and the location of it again corroborates what some of the victims have been telling us."

Sniffer dogs

Mr Harper said his officers were grateful for the increasing amount of help they were getting from the public.

But he said that had meant an increased workload, and he had requested 12 more investigators to join officers already working at the scene.

He told journalists that the chief minister of Jersey had given his assurance that all necessary resources would be put at the disposal of the investigation.

A sniffer dog reacted "strongly" when it entered the underground room on Wednesday, according to officers.

A forensic archaeologist has been sifting through large piles of rubble and soil in the cellar.

Mr Harper said a second underground room adjoining the first had still to be searched. It is understood to be the same size as the first - about 12ft square and 8ft high - and also bricked up.

He said police were determined not to destroy vital clues by hurrying their search of the first room in order to get to the next. "Every ounce of evidence" would be collected.

Some 160 people have said they were abused at Haut de la Garenne.

House parents' statement

Tony and Morag Jordan, of Kirriemuir, in Angus, Scotland, who worked as house parents at Haut de la Garenne from 1971 to 1984, have insisted they have "nothing to hide".

In a statement issued through their solicitors, the couple said they would help police with their inquiries.

The former Haute de la Garenne home care home and Jersey Sea Cadets are the main focus of an investigation into the sexual and physical abuse of boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 15 dating back over several decades.
•••••••
Children's home in abuse claims

Claims of abuse have emerged at another former children's home as investigations continue in Jersey at another home, Haut de la Garenne.

A confidential report from 1999 details "gross acts of physical and psychological abuse" at the Blanche Pierre care home in St Clement.

The home, which closed in 2001, is now a nursery which has no connection with the allegations.

A child's skull was found at Haut de la Garenne on 23 February.

If you spoke out of turn you would get a bar of soap rammed down your throat

A social services report into Blanche Pierre, obtained by the BBC, looked at alleged abuse in the home between 1986 and 1990 when the home was run by Jane and Alan Maguire.

The report said: "Mrs Maguire committed and condoned gross acts of physical and psychological abuse towards the children in her care."

It also said she "understood that a policy existed which forbade the use of corporal punishment".

The social services report found Mrs Maguire guilty of gross misconduct and recommended her dismissal.

The BBC has spoken to five former residents of Blanche Pierre and all spoke of sustained physical abuse.

One alleged victim, Jean-Michel Jarman, now 27, said: "There is firm and there is too firm.

"You should not get a whack with a wooden spoon or slipper for doing something wrong.

"If you spoke out of turn you would get a bar of soap rammed down your throat.

"It happened to me, my sister, brother and other children."

In 1990, two part-time members of staff alerted the authorities about the Maguire's' behaviour.

An investigation was carried out, but Mrs Maguire, an employee of the Jersey government, was moved onto another job within social services, and still allowed to work with vulnerable people.

Proceedings abandoned

Nearly 10 years later one of the Maguires' alleged victims complained to the police.

Court proceedings began, but were later dropped because at the time the witnesses were considered unreliable.

But one alleged victim of the abuse said: "They said they did not have enough evidence, but it was swept under the table.

"Nothing was ever done."

Former health minister, Senator Stuart Syvret, said the Maguires should have been sacked when the two staff members complained in 1990.

He said: "They should have been sacked immediately.

"The notion of just moving them and letting them carry on in an environment where there are vulnerable people is just utterly extraordinary."

Jane Maguire's solicitor says that court proceedings against her were abandoned after an independent Crown Advocate had looked at the case.

Jersey States said in a statement: "A police enquiry into allegations against Alan and Jane Maguire was completed in 1998, but the indictment was withdrawn after committal proceedings because it was considered the case did not pass the evidential test."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/jersey/7270398.stm

Published: 2008/02/29 15:37:25 GMT
••••••••
Jersey home witness 'intimidated'

Police have issued a warning after claims an ex-worker at the Jersey care home at the centre of a child abuse inquiry has intimidated a witness.

Deputy police chief Lenny Harper said any such behaviour would be dealt with as a "serious criminal offence".

Around 160 people claim they were abused at Haut de la Garenne, where a child's remains were found last week.

Forensic experts are continuing to excavate its cellars and suspect there may be four bricked-up chambers.

Mr Harper told reporters police had been able to substantiate "to some degree" reports that someone had been approached by a former care worker.

"I can't emphasise too much that anyone approaching victims or witnesses in this case could well be found to be perverting the course of justice," he warned.

"The police will not tolerate it. We will not stand for it and we will deal with anyone who does."

Mr Harper estimated it could take a month to finish tests on the human remains found so far, which he conceded could pre-date the investigation.

"It's also a distinct possibility that the person didn't die unlawfully. The truth of the matter is we just don't know," he said.

Twelve detectives from forces across England and Wales have been requested to help with the investigation.

Excavations at the site are also being assisted by a forensic archaeologist and a forensic anthropologist.

Officers have already excavated one bricked up chamber. A second chamber, yet to be broken into, is next to it and detectives believe there could be two more connected to that.

A set of shackles has been recovered from the chamber in the cellar, which police say corroborates some of the evidence from former residents.

'Nothing to hide'

On Friday, Tony and Morag Jordan, of Kirriemuir, in Angus, Scotland, who worked as house parents at Haut de la Garenne from 1971 to 1984, insisted they have "nothing to hide".

In a statement issued through their solicitors, the couple said they would help police with their inquiries.

The former care home and Jersey Sea Cadets are the main focus of an investigation into the sexual and physical abuse of boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 15 dating back over several decades.

2008/03/01 17:38:19 GMT
•••••••
First pictures of 'abuse' cellar

The first pictures of the cellar at the centre of a child abuse investigation in Jersey have been released.

Police have been excavating the chamber at the Haut de la Garenne former children's home over the past week.

Around 160 people claim they were abused at the home and a child's remains were found under a floor in a stairwell last Saturday.

Forensic experts are continuing to sift evidence and suspect there may be four bricked-up chambers.

'Significant finds'

Dozens of people have come forward in the last week claiming they were abused while at the centre.

The allegations date back to the 1970s and 1980s and some are from more than 40 years ago.

There have been accusations that people were kept in solitary confinement, raped and beaten.

Detectives said their investigation of the first cellar had uncovered two "significant finds" - reportedly shackles and a bath.

Police have used a digger to take off layers of soil but investigations were scaled down on Sunday to give forensic teams a break.

Twelve detectives from forces across England and Wales have been called in to help with the investigation.

Deputy police chief Lenny Harper told reporters on Saturday that police had been able to substantiate "to some degree" reports that someone had been approached by a former care worker and intimidated.

"I can't emphasise too much that anyone approaching victims or witnesses in this case could well be found to be perverting the course of justice," he warned.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/jersey/7273979.stm

Published: 2008/03/02 17:39:00 GMT
•••••••
Jersey care home 'full of fear'

A woman who worked at the former Jersey children's home at the centre of an abuse investigation has said she found children there "frozen with fear".

Christine Bowker volunteered for two months at Haut de la Garenne in 1972. She said the staff were "ice cold" and the children starved of affection.

She told the BBC she left over concerns about the "evil" goings-on in the home.

Excavation work has been ongoing since a child's skull was unearthed under a floor in a stairwell last Saturday.

Around 160 people claim they were abused at the home, in St Martin. The allegations date back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

'Sick people'

Mrs Bowker said there had not appeared to be any managers at the home when she was there, just six to eight staff who did not say a "civil word" to her and were very "rigid and controlled".

I recognised the children were absolutely ice cold and frozen with fear
Former worker Christine Bowker
"They totally ignored me and didn't speak much to each other," she said.

"They really looked like sick people - staring eyes and very tense. It was utterly grim.

"If the children relaxed at all or responded to my affection, they glared at the children and they glared at me, and the children then went back into their shells."

When asked if she witnessed any abuse, she said: "No, I didn't see anything like that but I recognised the children were absolutely ice cold and frozen with fear."

When Mrs Bowker, who now lives in Tasmania, tried to tell people about her suspicions, she said she was met with a "wall of silence".

Bricked-up chambers

The police investigation into abuse allegations began covertly in 2006.

Since the child's remains were found last week, dozens of people have come forward claiming they were abused while at Haut de la Garenne.

The search has been extended to the building's cellar and grounds, and police suspect there may be four bricked-up chambers in the cellar.

The first pictures of the cellar, released on Sunday, show a bath-like structure, which police say corroborates reports from alleged victims.

Excavations were halted on Sunday to give the forensic team a break but they are due to resume on Monday. The work is expected to take months.

Twelve detectives from forces across England and Wales have been called in to help with the investigation.

Published: 2008/03/03 01:23:22 GMT
•••••••
More items taken from Jersey home

More items have been removed from the former children's home in Jersey at the centre of an abuse investigation.

Officers said the items would be sent away for examination and it was too early to tell their significance.

A number of bones have also been found in the grounds of the home but none have so far turned out to be human.

Police are investigating the claims of about 160 people that they were abused at the Haut de la Garenne home in St Martin in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

'Wait and see'

Excavation work has been ongoing since a child's skull was unearthed under a floor in a stairwell at the home on 23 February.

The work resumed on Monday after being halted for a day to give the forensic team a break.

It also emerged that the Army has been involved in the search since last week, bringing specialist equipment that will allow police to examine some of the items they have recovered.

Deputy Chief Officer Lenny Harper, of Jersey Police, said: "The archaeologists have taken out a few items. It is too early yet to say what the significance of those are.

"We're going to be looking at those and sending them away for further examination. I won't speculate on what they might be at the moment. We just need to wait and see."

He added: "In respect of the grounds, we've uncovered a fair number of bones.

"We've identified the vast majority of these as being animal. There are one or two that are outstanding and we have to maybe have a closer look at them, but nothing that the anthropologist has identified as being human."

The inquiry's manpower has increased with 12 new detectives from the UK added, other technical assistance arriving and more staff for the incident room.

Shallow bath

Meanwhile, the Howard League for Penal Reform has said it will be sending a review team to Jersey at the end of March to examine issues around the treatment of children in care in Jersey.

Director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, Frances Crook, said: "We hope that the review team we are sending can provide positive recommendations on what Jersey should do to be more in line with UK and international standards of child protection."

The search in Haut de la Garenne has been extended to the building's cellar and grounds, and police suspect there may be four bricked-up chambers in the cellar. The first pictures of the cellar were released on Sunday.

DCO Harper has said it is possible that the skull may pre-date the period under investigation and that the person may not have died unlawfully.

Experts excavating the site uncovered a set of shackles and a shallow bath. The shackles had been found on the floor but may once have been fastened to the wall.

DCO Harper said the two items would "tend to provide corroboration for some of the allegations which we have received about offences that were committed".

Since the child's remains were found, dozens of people have come forward claiming they were abused at Haut de la Garenne. The investigation began covertly in 2006.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/jersey/7274878.stm

Published: 2008/03/03 21:27:26 GMT

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