Teeth Found At Jersey Home ‘Belonged To Children’

Detectives investigating allegations of abuse at a former Jersey children’s home said yesterday that bone and teeth fragments found in the cellar belonged to children, and added that their condition suggested murders had been committed.

Lenny Harper, the officer leading the inquiry, said further tests on bone fragments unearthed at Haut de la Garenne would be required to establish the date of deaths. But he added that if the deaths had occurred since the 1950s “we would say it is a homicide inquiry”. Since February archaeologists have found a total of 30 bone fragments in a bricked-up cellar, along with seven milk teeth. But tests on the bones so far have been inconclusive, with estimates ranging from the first half of the last century through to the 1980s.

Speaking at a briefing outside Haut de la Garenne, Harper gave details of the latest conclusions from forensic tests on bone fragments and teeth. He 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 before death. Experts say they have come out of more than one mouth.”

Harper added that it was probable the bone fragments come from more than one source. Some of the bones had been cut and many appear to have been burnt. Earlier in the investigation forensic teams uncovered a network of four underground chambers. In the other chambers police also found shackles, a bloodstained bath and the message “I’ve been bad 4 years and years” scrawled on a wooden post.

Yesterday Harper condemned those who have recently questioned the credibility of some of the alleged victims in the case for having criminal records. It was “contemptible”, he said, how people were “coming out of the shadows to attack the inquiry and to attack the victims”.

The tally of victims in the historical abuse inquiry is now down to 116, from around 160, after police conducted a review of the case earlier this week. There are now around 70 suspects and people “of interest”, said Harper.

So far only two people have been charged. Former Haut de la Garenne warden Gordon Claude Wateridge, 76, will appear in court on June 9, while Claude Donnelly appeared in court on April 30 charged with raping and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl between 1971 and 1974 on the island.