Police Discover THIRD Cellar Of Torture At Jersey Child Care Home

Police have discovered a third “cellar of torture” at the Jersey care home where children are said to have been abused and raped.

Excavators were following up a phone tip-off from a member of the public who is thought to have told them about a third torture chamber.

Yesterday, police broke through a concrete floor and uncovered the first cellar.

Inside, a sniffer dog trained to find human remains gave an “extremely strong reaction”.

Detectives feared more bodies would be found after the dog, which is trained to pinpoint human remains, went berserk as officers smashed into the bricked-up cellar.

When they ripped up the floor of Haut de la Garenne, detectives were stunned to find not one, but two sealed underground chambers under a double layer of concrete.

Sources said a bathtub secured to the dungeon floor was of “significant interest” to the sniffer dog.

Some victims have described the bathtub during accounts of abuse and part of the torture children were allegedly subjected to.

Police are looking for torture instruments after builders who worked at the home in 2003 when it was redeveloped into a youth hostel said they found ankle shackles.

More than 160 victims have come forward to report abuse at the former children’s home. Many told police they were taken to a dark place underground, claiming they were locked up, drugged, raped and beaten.

The secrets of Haut de la Garenne, known locally as Colditz, could emerge as one of the worst child-abuse scandals on British soil.

A skull and the remains of a child were found in the grounds at the weekend following an inquiry into abuse at the home.

Yesterday when officers broke into the cellar buried under two floors, a sniffer dog registered an “extremely strong reaction”, identical to the one he gave when the child’s remains were found.

Adjacent to the 12ft square and 7ft high cell, police found a chamber the same size that had also been filled with rocks and soil.

Forensic experts will trawl through the debris for human remains in an operation likely to take weeks. They say the bathtub backs up many victims’ accounts.

Deputy police chief Lenny Harper said: “We put the dog into the cellar. The reaction was evident. Some of the bricking-up appears suspicious but there could be an innocent explanation for it.

“The initial look at what is in there certainly corroborates some of the victims. But there is a lot of rock, soil and clay down there.”

Yesterday police said members of Jersey’s establishment are being investigated over the abuse.

Allegations have also been made against a “wide spectrum” of staff including carers, health workers and members of children services.

Police chief Graham Power said: “Possible suspects were in positions of authority in the public sector at the time of the alleged abuse.

“It’s certain a small number of people who are being named did have some official connection with the Jersey establishment. It would be astonishing if there were not.

“Children were held in a dark place – we think that’s the cellar. Children talk about being kept locked in a deep dark place and being brought out from time to time for the purpose of abuse.

“They were subjected to serious physical and sexual abuse. If the allegations are true, that’s torture enough.”

Police believe paedophiles visited and worked there over a period of up to 30 years until it closed in 1986.

But Mr Power does not think there was a paedophile ring.

He added: “People unconnected with the home may have been involved in the abuse.

“We are getting a lot of similar episodes of people with a similar inclination. I don’t think we are talking about an organised conspiracy.”

More than 1,000 children may have lived in the 60-bed home from the early Fifties.

The Victorian building was formerly a centre for children in care or with behaviour problems.