Friday, May 23, 2008


When society is free from the evil acts of Man, then this world will be safe for each and everyone and then I will set down my guard.
Brenda A. Ysaguirre

Children were dismembered and burnt, say Jersey police

Dozens of fragments of human bone found in the cellar of a former Jersey children’s home are believed to be the remains of children who were murdered, dismembered and then cremated in a fireplace, the detective leading the investigation into child abuse said yesterday.

The remains, which included children’s teeth, were found during an excavation of the underground rooms where former residents claim they were physically and sexually abused. Some fragments show signs of having been cut up and burnt.

The announcement comes after it was disclosed that the fragment of skull that led to the search is more likely to be a piece of wood or coconut shell than bone.

The Haut de la Garenne home, which closed in 1983, is at the centre of the investigation into abuse spanning a period of more than 30 years.

Deputy chief officer Lenny Harper said a total of 30 bone fragments and seven teeth had been found in one of the cellars. The bones will now undergo scientific examination to determine their age and the age of the child or children they may have come from. DNA testing may also make it possible to identify possible victims.

More than 160 people have come forward to claim they were abused at the home. Police searching the cellars, which had been sealed up, have found a blood-stained concrete bath and iron shackles that supported some of the accounts of victims.

A network of four underground chambers have now been investigated after a police sniffer dog indicated the presence of human remains. On a wooden post in one of the rooms that is thought to have been used to imprison children was scrawled the message “I’ve been bad for years and years”.

Police revealed yesterday that the number of people suspected of involvement in child abuse has increased from 40 to 70, although so far only one man has been arrested in connection with Haut de la Garenne.

Gordon Claude Wateridge, 76, originally from Croydon, South London, is charged with three offences of indecent assault on girls under 16 between 1969 and 1979, when he was warder at the home.

A second man has also been arrested as part of the wider abuse inquiry. Claude Donnelly, 68, of St Brelade, is charged with raping and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl between 1971 and 1974 on the island.

All the other suspects will be questioned and most of them will be arrested, say police.

Mr Harper said: “Some of the bones do indicate a homicide or an unexplained death. Our anthropologist has indicated certain features on one or two of the bones that we are looking at. There is no doubt that there are the remains of children in that cellar.”

Speaking at a briefing outside Haut de la Garenne, he gave further details of the latest conclusions from scientific tests on bone fragments and teeth that were found.

Mr Harper said: “Of the six teeth we have sent to the UK, five of these would not be able to come out naturally before death. Only one shows signs of decay. The rest have so much root attached they could not have come out naturally.”

He added: “Experts say that they have come out of more than one mouth.”

Mr Harper said: “What is causing us some concern is that one or two of the bones show signs of being part of an unexplained death.”

Some of the bones had been cut, he said. “A lot of bones appear to have some degree of burning to them,” he added. “A number were found in and around where we believe was a fireplace in the cellar area.”

Tests to age the suspected victims have so far been inconclusive, with estimates ranging from before the Second World War to as recent as the Seventies and Eighties.

Mr Harper said: “Whatever else, we have a dead child or dead children in that cellar. We do not know how they got there or how they died.”

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