Remains Of Five Children Found At Jersey Children’s Home
Charred remains from at least five children have been discovered in the cellars of a former children’s home in Jersey, but a murder inquiry is unlikely due to difficulties in dating the remains, police said.
The remains of the children, aged between four and 11, were found in a hidden dungeon described as “punishment rooms” in Haut de la Garenne, the former children’s home that has been at the centre of a wide-ranging abuse probe on the island state in the English Channel.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lenny Harper, the deputy chief officer of States of Jersey police, said: “At the end of the day there may not be the evidence there to mount a homicide inquiry and an attempt to bring anybody to justice for whatever crimes took place there.”
Police have evidence the bodies were burned and hidden in the late 1960s to early 1970s. Experts believe the 65 milk teeth that officers have recovered from the cellars could only have come out after death because of their condition.
More than 100 human bone fragments were also found at the site. One piece was identified as coming from a child’s leg and another from a child’s ear.
Tests showed some fragments were cut while others were burned, suggesting that murders had taken place and the victims’ bodies had possibly been cremated in a fireplace.
Police are looking into around 97 allegations of abuse on Jersey dating back to the early 1960s and have said there are more than 100 suspects.
Harper said carbon dating techniques had not been able to establish an exact time of death for the children’s remains.
“The indications are that if the results come back the same way as they have now it is obvious there won’t be a homicide inquiry,” he said.
However, the police search has unearthed valuable pieces of evidence which “substantially corroborate” accounts of abuse at the home, Harper added.
Investigations started in February after the discovery of what was initially believed to be part of a child’s skull, but tests later suggested it was more likely to be wood or part of a coconut.
Following the find, scores of people came forward claiming they were drugged, raped and beaten at the home.
Police excavated four secret underground chambers at the site, referred to as “punishment rooms” by some victims, and found shackles, a large bloodstained bath and children’s teeth.
In one cellar officers found the disturbing message “I’ve been bad for years and years” scrawled on a wooden post.
Three men have been charged with sex abuse offences as part of the inquiry into historical abuse.