Playing Jersey Care Home of Horrors

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Jersey Police focus on cellar

(ITV News)

Police are continuing their excavation of a bricked-up cellar at a Jersey property where they found a child's skull.

Officers were alerted to the former children's home Haut de la Garenne after a child abuse investigation launched last November uncovered allegations dating back to the 1960s.

Intelligence from the investigation led police to search the property, and on Saturday the remains of a child were discovered within the former Victorian school and orphanage in St Martin.

A further six sites are to be looked at, including a number of hotspots at the cellar which were identified by a sniffer dog.

All care agencies in Jersey are now being investigated for failing to act over allegations of child abuse. The island's deputy chief police officer Lenny Harper said: "We are looking at allegations that a number of agencies didn't deal with things as perhaps they should."

The state's ex-health minister Senator Stuart Seyvret has accused the government of a cover-up. Jersey's Chief Minister Senator Frank Walker promised an investigation but said: "There is no evidence of a high-level cover-up, as alleged by our former health minister."

It has also emerged that paedophile Edward Paisnel - dubbed the Beast of Jersey - used to visit Haut de la Garenne dressed as Father Christmas to deliver toys and sweets to the children. He was jailed for thirty years in 1971 after being convicted of 13 counts of assault, rape and sodomy.

Paisnel avoided capture for ten years because he was a respected businessman, husband and guardian of several foster children.

Police have said they are not connecting Paisnel - who died in 1994 - to the current inquiry.

The only person to be charged so far is Gordon Wateridge, a 76-year-old who worked at Haut de la Garenne between 1969 and 1979 and is charged with three offences of indecent assault on girls under 16.

More about the Jersey Home can be read here;


To whom it may concern....

An excellent piece called "Jersey Abuse Scandal - More Players in the Mix" can be found here:

And for those really interested, Senator Stuart Syvret's blog can be found here:

According to his most recent post [Monday Oct 27, 2008], he's looking for a little help with his 2008 Christmas Speech:

As readers and I have remarked frequently in recent months – wouldn’t it be fun to engage in some speculations and discussions as to what should be the subject, purpose and nature of my Christmas speech this coming December.

So – as promised – here is your opportunity to make suggestions as to what you think I should say this year.

But – for those not familiar with the history of the wretched saga – a brief recap.

At the conclusion of the last States assembly meeting before the Christmas break, it has long been custom and practice to conclude with speeches marking the end of the political year and the approach of Christmas.

There are usually five speeches, these being from the senior Senator, the senior Constable and the senior Deputy, the Dean and the Bailiff.

The senior Senator – which is me, believe it or not – is ‘Father of the House’, so is the first to speak.

Usually, these speeches are a round of smug, self-congratulatory, mutually-glorifying banalities – which are of little or no relevance to the community we represent.

But during the course of 2007, the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster erupted into public and political consciousness. For the first time ever – decades upon decades of the most appalling child abuses had finally been exposed.

The response of the Jersey oligarchy to these events was – and has continued to be - uniformly disgraceful.

Having spent much of 2007 networking amongst whistle-blowers, witnesses and survivors – people whose age ranged from 13 to 75 – I knew all too well that the States of Jersey had engaged in a shameful, disastrous and sustained failure to protect vulnerable children.

So – I decided back then that the community – and the survivors – needed to hear some kind of expression of empathy towards the victims – an acknowledgement of the decades-long failures of the island authorities which had allowed, permitted – and in many cases condoned - and carried out - these atrocities.

Such an open acknowledgment having never before been uttered by a politician in the Jersey parliament.

So – I took the trouble to write a speech, and when the moment arrived, attempted to deliver it.

I got about a quarter of the way through the speech when – in another brazen example of the culture of concealment at work - I was barracked and shouted-down by a number of States members, for example Peter Troy, Terry Le Main, Frank Walker & Mike Vibert.

The Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache – unlike any other speaker of a legislature in the respectable, democratic world – instead of telling these barbarians to sit down and shut up – agreed with them and joined in with the prevailing mob-rule.

He ordered me to stop the speech. Having taken the precaution of ensuring that what I had written was ‘in-order’ - and therefore knew the intervention of him and his oligarchy colleagues was simply an anti-democratic act of oppression – I declined.

So he cut my microphone and adjourned the meeting – allowing the assembled States members to rush off to their tax-payer funded Christmas lunch – from which I’d so rudely detained them.

I have previously blogged the speech in question, on the 14th April, 2008. It is archived under the title, “The Speech the Jersey Parliament Refused to Hear”,

The first – and so far only – occasion on which a Jersey politician stood to speak words of acknowledgment and empathy to abuse victims.

And the States assembly – in its majestic hauteur and hubris – disgraced itself by actually stopping the speech.

In a major article on the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster, in the Sunday Times magazine of the 4th May, 2008, the journalist, David James Smith wrote this concerning the halting of my speech:

“The suicide of Michael O’Connell had first been drawn to the attention of Syvret by a friend of Michael’s. Syvret had discovered the dates of Michael’s death and his subsequent inquest, and attempted to introduce them in a Christmas speech to the States in 2007. He had been shouted down by Frank Walker and others because he had broken with convention by not making a routine speech but choosing instead to talk about victims of child abuse in Jersey care homes.

"When he refused to sit down and tried to carry on – even as some members came up and practically screamed in his face – the bailiff, Philip Bailhache, switched off his microphone.

"It seems only fair to point out that the Jersey politicians weren’t to know then what you have read here, about Michael’s tragic history of abuse. But, even so, it might seem like a somewhat unedifying spectacle – a group of grown men, or mostly men, shouting down a speech which was, in part at least, about a boy who hanged himself.”

That is a very diplomatic description of how those events appeared to the real world – as opposed to the parallel-universe, “Groupthink” environment of Jersey.

You know, one of the reasons I feel so pessimistic about the future of this community is that – to this day – notwithstanding everything we have learnt about the concealed atrocities inflicted on vulnerable children in Jersey – still 90% of Jersey politicians and their oligarchy supporters see me as the villain of the hour –and their conduct to be perfectly respectable.

But – let us try and set aside such multi-faceted tragedy and sadness – and instead turn our attention towards Christmas 2008 – and my speech as Father of the House.

I could easily think of several apposite themes – and a few particular phrases – which might inform the speech.

But I thought I’d try and introduce a little democracy into the process – by inviting you, dear readers – to submit your suggestions.

What do you think I should be saying this year, as the assembly finishes business and looks to Christmas?

Though – do not be in the least surprised if, as I’ve remarked previously, the oligarchy - with indecent haste - try and rush through a change in the rules somehow, and scrap many, many decades of custom and practice – simply in order to stop me from speaking.

Yeah – I’m afraid they really are that dumb.

The words of Jesus Himself – such as “suffer the little children” - are obviously out of contention – as these were not allowed last-time; being deemed somehow “inappropriate” – even though we were approaching the celebration of Christ’s birth.

And Biblical quotes in general will be forbidden, as even the Dean, when e-mailed by me after the incident to ask what he thought of events – took a decidedly pro-oligarchy position.

Though having said that – I guess he may have changed his mind – given that he used the very same quotes that I had attempted to deliver, a few months later when the cause of the suffering and misery of children had become “fashionable”.

So – even though it’s a Christmas speech, Christian themes appear to be out-of-bounds – well, at least any Christian themes which are embarrassing or inconvenient to the oligarchy.

Though I’m quite sure that some Old Testament stuff about homosexual people being “wicked” and in need of being “cured” could be rustled-up by Ian Le Marquand. I’ve no doubt that that kind of thing would go down a storm with most States members if delivered by said ultra-conservative religious fundamentalist.

So – what are we left with?

Quite a lot actually

Being an anti-oligarchy States member, one has had to develop quite a good line in irony – so we could subtly – or not so subtly – take the mick.

Or – I could seriously address a subject which would appeal to the assembled herd – such as just how marvellous our ultra-low and regressive taxation system was – given that it gives such free-reign to the “wealth-creators” – whose efforts then allow a little “trickle-down” to the poor in Jersey and abroad.

Perhaps I could talk about the brilliant intellectual skills, leadership and vision of the retired Senator Frank Walker – and point to his many, many achievements – such as the vast, concrete excrescences which adorn St. Helier’s Waterfront; one of which was so fantastic an achievement it’s just won the “worst new building in Britain” award. Or maybe how – after decades of countless billions flowing through Jersey – we’ve accumulated a Strategic Reserve which is almost so large as to able to meet one year’s public expenditure.

Perhaps I could speak a little of all those members who are retiring?

Maybe pass a few words on the legacy of departing Bailiff, Phil Bailhache?

Perhaps I could confess the error of my ways? Hmm....Don’t think that’ll work either – as the Assembly made it clear they didn’t like ‘confessional’ material last time out.

Perhaps I could recite an appropriate poem? I like poetry – so that could be a runner.

Do send in your recommendations.


Stuart Syvret trying to look in his crystal ball to predict the spinmeisters actions.





Replacement Cops Join Jersey Oligarchy

And Try to Put the Lid Back On Jersey Child Abuse Disaster.

Well – it had to happen, didn’t it?

Leopards don’t change their spots – and so it is with the Jersey Police.

Following decades upon decades of appalling child abuse – during which the Jersey Police were plainly a significant part of the problem – to the extent that they went beyond merely perverting the course of justice by covering things up, to actually having amongst their number several child abusers – Danny Wherry, for example - it looked as though things had changed.

For a few brief months, maybe a year or so – it looked as though the culture of concealment had been broken by the decency and commitment of Lenny Harper.

But Lenny’s retirement date arrived, and he departed Jersey’s shores.

A very substantial number of the survivors, whistle-blowers and campaigners like me were filed with trepidation at the prospect of Lenny leaving – fearing that things would rapidly revert to the Bad Old Days.

But, nevertheless, hope remained; perhaps the changes initiated by Lenny had been so great that there was no reversing them. So the replacements were given a chance.

Sadly – yet, I guess, predictably – the co-ordinated back-peddling being displayed could have won for Britain a gold medal in going-in-reverse cycling, had the Olympics had such an event.

Notwithstanding the clear impossibility of the task – the Police and their customary Jersey oligarchy friends and allies – who they’ve kissed-and-made-up-with – are attempting to get the djinn back in the bottle.

Such a vast, carefully co-ordinated and heavily media-managed attempted cover-up is a wonder to behold.

I’ll try and explain some of what’s going on.

Truly – you just couldn’t make it up.

Firstly – the States of Jersey Police Force are holding a major press-conference tomorrow.

This will be followed by a wonderfully choreographed second press-conference which will be given by Jersey’s Chief Minister and the Home Affairs Minister at 2.00.

I’m going to be available at about 3.15 in the Royal Square if any journalists (not the local hacks, obviously dur!) wants to get my take on things.

A little quiz for regular readers of my blog:

Why do you think these two press conferences are happening tomorrow?

Why the sudden panic?

Why the burning need to manufacture a hi-profile story right at this particular moment?

You don’t need to be a senior player in Burson Marsteller to figure it out – do you?

The Jersey oligarchy need – desperately – really, really need - a big diversionary storm to marginalise and distract attention away from the publication of the independent report of the Howard League for Penal Reform – which, it just so happens, is to be launched by the Howard League at a press-conference in Jersey this coming Friday.

Clever, no?

No – actually; pretty thick. This kind of spin-doctoring works, of course, with the Jersey hacks – who will fall for it hook, line and sinker.

But so crassly obvious is this stunt that some UK journalists who have contacted me are already falling about laughing at it.

Why the need to marginalise and distract attention from the Howard League report?

The Howard League has undertaken a detailed, independent investigation into youth justice and child custody issues in Jersey. A study which has examined the evidence, looked at the law, spoken with victims and whistle-blowers – and – particularly problematically for the Jersey oligarchy – the era they’ve been examining is comparatively recent.

The late 1980’s, 1990’s and up until 2006 and the present day.

An era, in fact, which is so recent that many of the key figures involved – for example many senior civil servants – are still in post.

But even more problematically for the jersey oligarchy – amongst the issues the Howard League have examined are the concerns raised by Simon Bellwood and me – which were the central feature of the Jersey child abuse controversy when it first erupted early in the summer of 2007.

From those days – up until the present – people like Frank Walker, the senior civil servants and his oligarchy colleagues have repeatedly – rabidly – asserted that the victims of the punitive and coercive solitary confinement regimes, and people like Bellwood and I were wrong.

And that the so-called Grand Prix policy - and even worse practices which preceded it - were perfectly acceptable – and not, in fact, criminal acts.

Even though this stance was manifestly ignorant, immoral, bloody stupid and ethically bankrupt – nevertheless, the Jersey oligarchy carried on asserting that black was white – because they always get away with that approach in Jersey.

Unquestioning and uncritical deference is all they’re ever offered by the local media – which they “own”, in any event.

But, disastrously for the Jersey oligarchy – real journalists have been involved in covering this story – who never swallowed the spin and lies.

So the publication of the report of the Howard League this coming Friday represents a terrifying and profoundly damaging prospect for the Jersey oligarchy.

Because the Howard League have concluded that people like me and Bellwood were right – and, axiomatically, it follows that – all of the tirades of lying assertions made by Jersey establishment politicians and civil servants over the last 20 months were wrong.

Oh dear! Crises and disaster! What do we do about this?

First trick in the spin-doctors’ manual – create a bigger, diversionary story.

Damage-limit the consequences of the Howard League’s findings by making sure they get lost in a blizzard of other controversies.

That’s why the two press conferences are being held tomorrow.

And being held extraordinarily prematurely – as I will explain later.

So – having established that – we then have to ask:

“What could the Jersey Cops and their Friends Reunited – the Jersey oligarchy politicians - do to manufacture a sufficiently significant media-storm to divert attention away from something so fundamentally crushing of the Jersey oligarchy position as the Howard League report?

Another little quiz:

Who does the Jersey oligarchy hate the most (apart from me, obviously)– and what major issue has that person been involved in?

Again – it ain’t difficult, is t?

Lenny Harper – and the Haute de la Garenne investigation.

Controversial figure – and a controversial issue.


What could be a better spin-doctors’ diversion?

So then we come to the content of tomorrow’s press-conferences.

The obvious purpose of both carefully co-ordinated conferences is to smear Lenny Harper – and attempt to dismiss and marginalise the investigations into the possibility of child killings at Haut de la Garenne, and to pour doubt on victim witness testimony in respect of some of the serious abuse claims.

But that isn’t the only purpose.

This strategy delivers the Jersey oligarchy two birds for the proverbial one stone.

They divert and distract attention away from the Howard League report – published this Friday, remember?

And they can rubbish and marginalise the whole Haute de le Garenne investigation and their nemesis – Lenny Harper.

But what is the Jersey oligarchy going to say?

Well – I don’t know for sure – but I very strongly suspect it will be something along the following lines.

Firstly – a guess at what the Police are going to say:

The Police have spent weeks briefing against Harper – doing all they can to rubbish him and his methods in the most aggressive of ways.

As this approach filtered back to me, it became clear that UK journalists were simply not swallowing it; the new Police approach simply screamed “cover-up!”

So the SOJP have rowed-back from many of the ludicrous assertions they’ve been making – and toned down their “message” for tomorrow’s press-conference.

But – being a bit thick – they appear to have forgotten that the extreme and hostile briefings they’ve been giving against Harper are firmly noted and lodged with the national – that’s real – journalists they spoke to.

So – somehow – I just get the impression it’s the original recent Police smear campaign – in all its ugly extremity – and the motivations for it - which the nationals are going to bear in mind.

Nevertheless – the States of Jersey Police “message” to be delivered tomorrow – although dramatically toned-down – will still be fully capable of being interpreted as a condemnation of Harper.

You see – that way – the Jersey Police can appear to have moderately clean hands – and leave the real battering of Harper - and the crowing over the “inconsequential” HDLG investigation - to politicians like Frank Walker when he gives his press conference in the afternoon.

But returning to the Police, they will criticise Harper’s approach, his methodology, his transparency in being too open with the media – all will be criticised by the States of Jersey Police – but in a gentlemanly “professional” manner – if you get my drift?

The Jersey establishment have always been desperate to find excuses for not extraditing, charging and prosecuting many of the significant suspects – so they’ll blame Harper’s media strategy for making trials “impossible” – though such pre-charge publicity rarely ever interferes with charging and prosecution in the UK.

They’ll assert that the forensics were never clear enough to make comment about the putative human remains.

They’ll assert that the voids under the floors at HDLG – because they weren’t high enough for an adult to stand up in – could not have been used to imprison or abuse children.

They’ll assert that items recovered – such as the shackles – had “innocent” uses.

They’ll assert that the HDLG investigation was ‘badly flawed’.

They’ll assert that the serious and historical Haute de la Garenne allegations are insubstantial, unclear and/or insufficiently evidenced to be taken seriously – so, conveniently, that part of the enquiry is being shelved.

They’ll assert that they want to do this – so they can – oh-so considerately – focus attention, time and resources on covering up the recent abuses and conspiracies to pervert the course of justice – err – no - sorry – I meant spend the next 12 months prevaricating in their attempts to bring the guilty to justice – before finding that that’s all a bit too difficult as well.

And senior Officers will get their Jersey ‘Housing Qualifications’, their full pensions, won’t have their wives told about the affairs they’re having – and who knows – maybe a big “performance bonus” as well?

Then we turn to what Big Frank and his various troglodyte Jersey political allies will be asserting in the afternoon.

They’ll be crowing about how Lenny Harper cocked it all up.

How useless he was.

How there never – ever – were any realistic grounds for believing that child killings may have occurred at HDLG.

That they were “right all along”.

How this isn’t even their view – “It’s actually the States of Jersey Police who say the whole thing was a mess”.

Though quite how this assertion can be made without the summary dismissal of the Chief Officer Graham Power remains a total mystery – as it was his Force – and Harper worked under his direction and oversight.

They’ll assert how “all of the denigration of Jersey and her people has been “proven” to be rubbish”. (That's the "patriotism" card, you see.)

For appearances sake – they’ll make a few sympathetic noises towards the “genuine” victims of abuse – though almost certainly forgetting that they shouted-down my Christmas speech of empathy for the victims at the end of last year.

They’ll assert that “now all this “erroneous” and “distracting” HDLG stuff is out of the way, the Police can now concentrate on dealing with the “real” cases” – err – except, obviously, Lundy, Wherry, McKeon etc, etc, etc; well – it goes without saying, yeah?

And – there you go!


“Harper’s a useless bastard.”

“Never any possibility of child killings at Haute de la Garenne.”

“The Jersey oligarchy are wonderful.”

“The national media are peddlers of fiction.”

“And a nice big juicy political and media storm to distract and divert everyone’s attention away from that oh so pesky and inconvenient Howard League report.”

Do you reckon Burson Marsteller will give me a job?

Look – I know it would mean working amongst scum – but I kind of get the impression the last 18 years has prepared me for that.

But – But – But - ?

There are, at least, one or two serious flaws in the above described co-ordinated spin campaign.

I’ve all ready mentioned the very determined efforts made to discredit Harper by the Police in secret briefings to journalists – and how some of it was so transparently dishonest and absurd as to have journalists falling off their chairs laughing.

I’ll come back to an example of that absurdity when I conclude – just to give you a flavour of the “you couldn’t make it up” syndrome.

Michael Gradwell and David Warcup were already setting about trying to rubbish Harper and his work from the instant they got involved in their new jobs with the States of Jersey Police.

Indeed – so quickly – it cannot be viewed as anything other than a pre-meditated plan.

But – there are two hugely inconvenient and deeply problematic obstacles to their objective.

Firstly – as already referred to – the Chief Officer Graham Power.

It simply is not remotely credible to condemn such a major and deeply significant investigation – without looking at the man who was in charge of the Police Force whilst the enquiry was in full-swing – who Harper was working to, and was under the direction of - his boss, Graham Power.

Significant problems with the Haute de la Garenne investigation?

Then Power has to go.

His position as Commanding Officer is simply untenable.

Secondly – and of far greater importance – the three ACPO reports.

ACPO is the Association of Chief Police Officers – and amongst other functions, it acts as a kind of peer reviewing mechanism for major investigations.

I have not seen those ACPO reports – though I have asked the Jersey Police for copies, but they won’t give them to me.

But the impression conveyed was that ACPO – and Lenny’s boss, Power – were satisfied with the quality of the investigation.

Not once – but three times in the case of ACPO.

Hmmm......Big problem for Gradwell & Warcup. Thinking caps on!

They alight upon the idea of going to some friends of theirs in the London Metropolitan Police in order to get the HDLG investigation “reviewed” by them.

As is well-known amongst journalists, the “findings” of this “review” by the Met are already “written”.

However, two problems remain. Firstly, how do the Met produce the goods needed to stamp on the credibility of the HDLG investigation - without going flatly against ACPO – and attempting to overturn the three previous reports?

I’m really not sure just quite how they’re going to mange that.

But I’ve no doubt they’ll have a damn good try.

Secondly – and profoundly problematically for the Jersey Police and their Friends Reunited in the Jersey oligarchy – the Met – even though its “findings” have been very widely touted around national journalists – have not yet interviewed the key figure – Lenny Harper.

I’ll just repeat that – in case it’s just too extraordinary to sink in on first reading.

Lenny Harper has not yet been interviewed by the Met review team.

Indeed – he hasn’t even been interviewed by Gradwell or Warcup.

So let’s get this straight – a very carefully structured and co-ordinated campaign of media-manipulation, “official” smears, spin, lies and omissions – has been cobbled together for rushing out tomorrow – without any formal interview of Lenny Harper having been undertaken.

The national press-pack have been summoned to Jersey to listen firstly to the States of Jersey Police – and then Frank Walker and others – condemn Harper, his methodology, the investigation, the witness testimonies of victims – and bellow on about what rubbish it all was – and how Jersey’s oligarchy is the finest administration in the world – on the basis of a set of “conclusions” – for which no completed, prior report exists.

For no such report could be remotely taken seriously without full interviews with the key figures.

And they expect national – real – journalists to take this cobblers seriously?

Oh well – that’s the Jersey oligarchy for you.

Always were a bit thick.

And they get noticeably even more stupid – when the panic sets in.

It having been pointed out to the Jersey Police that if they expected to be taken even faintly seriously in their efforts to rubbish Harper via the Met review – they would at least have to go and interview him.

So – with great reluctance – a date has been set for one of the Met “review team” to go to Lenny’s home and interview him.

But – disaster!

That interview will not take place until around the 17th of November!

But that’s NO BLOODY USE!

The Jersey oligarchy need to manufacture their media storm NOW!

NOW! Do you hear!

They simply MUST have their diversionary and distracting spin delivered a day or two before the Howard League report is published!

How else would they divert attention away from it – and its conclusions?

Conclusions which show that people like Big Frank, Bill Ogley, Ozouf, Pollard, Baudains etc were totally wrong - and people like Simon Bellwood and me were totally right.

That the use of punitive and coercive solitary confinement regimes – which would see children held in cells in isolation for weeks - and months - at a stretch – was simply a corporate act of criminal child abuse.

An unlawful practice – which the Jersey oligarchy desperately tried to cover-up by firstly oppressing Bellwood – and when I believed him – oppressing me.

So – the Jersey oligarchy – in desperate need of one big, diversionary media storm – right now.

But - act in haste – repent at leisure.

Launching the attempts to rubbish Lenny and the HDLG investigation – disastrously prematurely - before the Met team have even interviewed Lenny Harper – in an act of simple and transparent desperation to keep attention away from the Howard League report – is the very height of folly.

You know – I just get the feeling that this could yet be the greatest PR cock-up by the Jersey establishment during this whole, wretched episode.

Oh, for sure – the Jersey media will all kiss Frank’s rear-end – and go along with the farrago; the oligarchy will have their couple of days hi-profile spin.

But somehow – I just don’t think this particular, brazen media-management stunt is going to prove to have been effective in the medium and long-term.

Like I said – thick.

I said I’d conclude with an example of the kind of remarks that have been made by the Jersey Police in recent weeks in their efforts to rubbish the investigation and Harper – and it really has been this absurd.

You couldn’t make it up.

You remember the 60 teeth found amongst the rubble in the voids beneath the floors at Haute de la Garenne?

“No killings” – remember – so that’s pretty weird – isn’t it?

How would all those kiddies teeth have ended up there?

It was the Tooth-Fairy.

No – really.

Amongst other garbage, the Police have been telling serious journalists that the teeth were largely milk teeth from other children – which kind-hearted parents donated to Haute de la Garenne – so if a kiddie needed cheering up – you know, maybe after something like getting punched in the teeth by one of the staff and loosing a few – this stock of teeth could be drawn upon so that they could be placed under the child’s pillow – and the Tooth-Fairy would visit in the night and place sixpence – or 5p – under the pillow.

So – you see!

No mystery at all!

It was the Tooth-Fairy what done it, Sarge.


Jersey abuse case: police rule out murder at Haut de la Garenne

And today in the news as predicted by Stuart Syvret:


No children were murdered at the Haut de la Garenne former care home, police investigating alleged abuse in Jersey believe

Exclusive by Nigel Bunyan in Jersey and Gordon Rayner
Last Updated: 2:03AM GMT 12 Nov 2008

Nine months ago the island’s Deputy Chief Officer, Lenny Harper, suggested that six bodies could have been buried under the building. Senior detectives are expected to announce today that dozens of burnt bone fragments found in cellars are “historic” and could be hundreds of years old.

Mr Harper, who retired in August, attracted international media attention when he hinted that children may have been murdered, dismembered and cremated in a furnace below the Victorian building, where 65 milk teeth were also discovered.

But in a humiliating turnaround, his investigation is likely to be criticised by his successor, David Warcup, who will announce at a press conference today that the bone fragments are older than the building itself, meaning no children could have been murdered there.

Mr Warcup’s findings will also call into question the role of Jersey’s Chief Officer, Graham Power, who oversaw the £7?million child abuse investigation.

The news will restart a row between the island’s police and politicians, and is likely to be seized on by Mr Harper’s critics, including a minister who ridiculed him with the nickname “Lenny Henry”.

At the height of the investigation Jersey’s establishment, notorious for a long-standing culture of secrecy, stood accused of orchestrating a cover-up of institutionalised child abuse.

In turn, Jersey’s Chief Minister, Frank Walker, accused a whistle-blower of “trying to shaft Jersey internationally” by drawing attention to the case.

Other members of the island’s parliament, the States of Jersey, suggested that the police were going down a blind alley.

Mr Harper, now living in Ayrshire, told The Daily Telegraph: “I have been saying for some time that the most likely outcome was that it would be impossible to date the bones accurately and so there would not be enough evidence to launch a homicide investigation.

‘‘When we found bone fragments and teeth in a home where we were investigating alleged abuse, what did people expect us to do?

“Ignore it? You won’t find any police force in the country which would have kept that quiet.

“From a very early stage everything we did was examined by the Acpo (Association of Chief Police Officers) homicide review group, which kept a close eye on the investigation.” The suggestion that children could have been murdered at Haut de la Garenne, which closed in 1986, was first made by Mr Harper in February, when he announced that what appeared to be part of a child’s skull had been found underneath a floor at the home.

Forensic tests later established that the “skull” was more likely to be a piece of wood or coconut shell.

More than 100 former residents at Haut de la Garenne have alleged that they were sexually or physically abused.

Something rings very familiar... now what can that be?

Oh yes... The Jersey Home and it's related articles remind me very much of a reported case that took place well across the pond in growing town called Philadelphia.

[See "Children Badly Treated.; The Poor Management of The Philiadelphia Alms-House"

In that case, news got reported in 1882, but the findings were not fully investigated until 2004.

Interestingly enough, inquiry was made not because of the 1882 reports.  A four year investigaion took place because the skeletal remains of 9 adults and 6 children were found during a water main installation project done in 2001.  A proper burial was not given until 2006.

The discovery remained a mystery for about 4 years as archeologists, morticians and other enthusiasts worked to provide the 15 skeletons a proper burial. As part of the evaluation, the skeletons were examined by anthropologists and a dentist who noted interesting findings, such as a pipe stem notch between the teeth of one man, as well as hair still attached to skeleton scalps, one of a child discovered with silk bows. Another adult skeleton clutched the remains of a blanket.

Although at first the investigators thought the skeletons might be those of Civil War soldiers, it turns out the skeletons discovered were from a 19th-century Catholic cemetery that had once been on the grounds. The 15 skeletons eventually received a proper burial at Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery on Memorial Day,2006.

[From "Tales of the Crypt",] 

According to the article that features the findings made by the husband-wife forensic anthropologists who found the coffins of 16 infants and children: 

"The shapes, style of nails, and methods used to build the coffins indicated that the burials were probably made between about 1775 and 1800,” Dr. Thomas Crist said. There were no tombstones or other evidence of identification, and shroud pins were the only artifacts found in the coffins.

Of the 16 children found in the burial trench12 had died before their first birthdays, including four premature infants and two newborns. Three of the 16 individuals were children between two and three years old. Although five of the children showed bone markings associated with widespread infections, there was no clear cause of death for any of them.

The most startling discovery was that the heads, jaws, and upper neck bones of the three oldest children were missing, surgically removed before they had been buried. “We knew that early Philadelphia surgeons and their students conducted autopsies in the old almshouse morgue,” Dr. Molly Crist noted, “but this is the first skeletal evidence that children had been subjected to dissections just like the adults who died there.”

Two of the autopsied children were 3-3½ years old when they died, and the third was 5-6 years old. “The third cervical vertebra of one of the children clearly showed cut marks,” Dr. Thomas Crist said, “the key piece of evidence that the children had been autopsied before their burials.”

The discovery sheds new light on the education of physicians in early America at a time when Philadelphia was the center of medical teaching. In fact, the first medical school in the colonies opened in 1765 when the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) enrolled its first students.

“What most people don’t realize is that medical students back then had to provide their own cadavers for dissections and practice surgeries,” Dr. Thomas Crist said. This requirement fostered a black market of sorts in human remains as well as numerous cases of grave robbing. “The almshouse solved the problem for many physicians and their students,” Dr. Molly Crist said, “providing a steady supply of cadavers for study and practice, especially amputations.”  [ ]

Hmm... solving a problem... a black market... providing a steady supply (of bodies)... the practice of amputation (removal of a body extremity)... and over-looked investigations.

Does that remind anyone of anything related to the adoption industry's role and interest in "safe child-placement"? [Or is that just me, seeing what I want to see?]

Pound Pup Legacy