Haut de la Garenne - The Jersey children's home

The Jersey children's home - Haut de la Garenne - and other institutions
The former children's home in Jersey, Haut de la Garenne, is being investigated following previously unheeded complaints that the children who were placed there until the 1980's were made to suffer gross abuse and ill-treatment. On February 23, 2008, the remains of a child's body were found on the premises.
Other children's homes are now being investigated since a UK social worker has helped to spark a major inquiry into children's services in Jersey. Simon Bellwood, the "whistle-blower" was sacked after making a complaint about child protection on the island.

A series of articles in different UK media, 30 August 2007 --

Jersey police chief's fury as abuse suspects release ‘scares off’ witnesses

A furious memorandum from the senior detective in the Jersey child murder and abuse investigation claims that it has been hampered by prosecutors, destroying victims’ faith in the justice system.

The Times, August 14, 2008

Remains of five children found at Haut de la Garenne, Jersey former children's home

By David Byers
Jersey police have discovered the partial remains of at least five children at Haut de la Garenne, the former children’s home at the centre of the island’s child abuse investigation.

However, the grim discoveries of the bone fragments - believed to have come from youngsters aged between 4 and 11 - may not result in a murder inquiry because experts have been unable to pinpoint when the children died, the detective leading the investigation has admitted.

Times Online, July 31, 2008

Jersey murder inquiry 'unlikely'
Police in Jersey say a murder inquiry may never take place, despite the discovery of remains of at least five children at a former children's home.

They said such an inquiry was unlikely because an exact date could not be put on the remains, believed to have come from children aged four to 11.

However, they later insisted no final decision on the case had been made.

BBC News, 31 July 2008


Teeth and bone found at Jersey home

Police investigating child abuse at a former Jersey children's home have found teeth and bone fragments.

Five teeth thought to be from a child aged four or five and slivers of bone were found in a secret underground chamber.
ITN - 12.05.2008

Ex-warden appears in Jersey court
The former warden of a Jersey care home has appeared before magistrates, facing three charges of indecent assault.
Gordon Claude Wateridge, 76, will reappear on 9 June. He formerly worked as a warden at the Haut de la Garenne care home.

BBC News, 12 May 2008

Review of "barbaric" Jersey childcare system begins

An independent team will today arrive in Jersey to begin a four-day review of the island's child protection system, which has been described as "barbaric".
The Howard League for Penal Reform will be investigating allegations that children in protective custody were kept in solitary confinement up until 2007.
inthenews.co.uk, 11 May 2008


Bryn Estyn victims relive nightmare as Haut de la Garenne gives up secrets

By Ben Glaze
THE child abuse allegations rocking the tiny island of Jersey have brought back nightmares for victims of the UK’s biggest child sex scandal.

Ten years ago, 150 former residents of North Wales care homes came forward claiming they were physically and sexually assaulted as youngsters.

An independent inquiry slammed police and council officials for failing to act and made a series of recommendations to prevent such abuse happening again.

The North Wales probe centred on allegations at Bryn Estyn Boys’ Home and a paedophile ring around Wrexham and Cheshire, where monsters abused vulnerable youngsters in care.

It led to 10 convictions with the culprits jailed for a total of 49 years.

Now similar claims have been made by former residents of Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey. Last Saturday police discovered a child’s skull buried in the grounds and detectives are investigating claims as many as 160 vulnerable youngsters were abused by 40 suspects over more than 20 years.

Wales on Sunday, Icwales Mar 2 2008

Ask Margaret Hodge how horrors can hide

By Jenny McCartney

The police excavation at Haut de la Garenne, the former children's care home in Jersey, has quickly become one of the most sickening archaeological digs imaginable. The items found in its warren of bricked-up cellars - a child's skull, a set of shackles, a sunken bath - are fragments of a terrible mosaic of the past, in which a series of predatory adults seemingly inflicted unthinkable cruelties upon helpless children in their care.

More than 150 former residents of the care home have come forward with their stories, and it will also fall to the police to sift through those grim memories from the 1960s, '70s and '80s. One woman, who spoke anonymously to the BBC last week, recalled the "punishment room" in which children were sometimes held alone for two weeks or more.
The Telegraph, 02/03/2008



‘Culture of concealment’ divides Jersey as abuse scandal grows

By Brendan Montague, Jersey and Jack Grimston

THE old men of Jersey are racking their consciences as terrible secrets resurface.

Dozens of senior figures in the island’s tight-knit establishment are facing possible police questioning over who knew what about abuse, beatings and, con-ceivably, murder from the 1940s to 1980s at the Haut de la Garenne children’s home.
Timesonline, March 2, 2008

Jersey police discover trapdoor at Haut de la Garenne home

By David Brown
Police investigating claims of sexual abuse and possible murders at a Jersey children’s home today found a trapdoor above what appears to be an underground torture chamber.

The improvised entrance was discovered this morning in the floorboards above the two-roomed cellar where police had earlier found a pair of shackles and a large concrete bath. Lenny Harper, deputy chief officer of Jersey Police, said that the trapdoor matched the description given by abuse victims who claim they had been taken down into a “dark pit” at the Haut de la Garenne home.

Two more former residents have given police details of “serious sexual practices” at the home. Police are investigating allegations of abuse from more than 160 victims involving 40 suspects from the 1960s to the home's closure in 1986.

Timesonline, February 29, 2008



Up to seven children's bodies still buried in care home

By Caroline Gammell, Aislinn Simpson and Lucy Cockcroft in Jersey

Police suspect they will uncover more human remains at a former children's care home in Jersey in the Channel Islands after breaking into a cellar and discovering another secret chamber yesterday.

The two caverns, measuring 12ft by 12ft, underneath Haut de la Garenne on Jersey were bricked up many years ago and filled-in with soil and rock.

Police investigating claims of systematic child abuse over the past six decades have spent three days concentrating on the area after a sniffer dog picked up a scent.

Alleged victims told police that the cellar was a place where they were abused.

When a team punched a 3ft hole through the ceiling of the first chamber, what they found matched descriptions given by former residents. But they soon realised there was a second adjoining room which was also bricked up.

Police found a bathtub attached to the floor of the first cellar. It is thought it was used for a form of water torture.

independent.ie, February 28 2008



Child abuse in Jersey: Not seen, not heard.
A grisly discovery raises questions about the offshore haven

ST HELIER, JERSEY. FED on salmon and insured for £4.5m ($8.9m), Eddie is a prince among springer spaniels. The police sniffer-dog justified his lavish lifestyle on February 23rd, when he led officers to a spot at an old children's home where, under concrete, lay the remains of a child's skull. Police are digging up six more patches in the grounds of Haut de la Garenne, a Victorian “industrial school” that was a children's home until 1986. The excavations are part of a probe into child sexual abuse going back to the 1940s. Officers have taken phone calls from more than 160 people who claim to have been mistreated there, and fear that the home could reveal more bodies.

From The Economist print edition, Feb 28th 2008



Jersey children's home hell: Victims of Haut de la Garenne tell their story

By Victoria Ward And Don Mackay
Pamela's story: I was drugged, beaten and sexually abused .. what went on there was cruel, sadistic, evil

mirror.co.uk, 27/02/2008



Jersey whistle-blower fears he will be silenced
writes Maria Ahmed

 The UK whistleblower who raised concerns over child protection in Jersey fears the island’s government will try to silence him as a police investigation into child abuse widens.

Simon Bellwood told Community Care that officials could deliberately delay his forthcoming employment tribunal in the wake of the recent discovery of a child’s body in a former children’s home.

The social worker also predicted the publication of an independent review of child protection on Jersey by UK expert Andrew Williamson could be delayed as part of a “damage limitation exercise”.

Community Care, 26 February 2008



Police excavate bricked-up 'Colditz' cellar at ex-children's home in Jersey amid fears it hides a mass grave

By Rebecca Camber, Arthur Martin and Michael Seamarck

The bricked-up cellar of the Haut de la Garenne children's home was being excavated last night amid fears it could be a mass grave.

The basement where youngsters were once held in solitary confinement as punishment may hold the bodies of six children, police believe.

Specialist teams using sniffer dogs and ground radar equipment have identified a number of suspicious sites around the cellar.
The Daily Mail, 26th February 2008



Jersey establishment must start answering questions

by Maria Ahmed
recent discovery of a child's remains in a former children's home in Jersey has reignited concerns that - at least historically - all is not well on the child protection front. But how far the Jersey police will get in their inquiry will be interesting to follow.

After my own investigation into the sacking of Simon Bellwood, a UK social worker who criticised a system of locking children as young as 11 in solitary confinement, I came across a wall of silence.

Apart from Bellwood and former health and social services minister Stuart Syvret nobody was prepared to go on the record about children allegedly being put at risk on the island. I had plenty of anonymous calls basically corroborating Bellwood's and Syvret's claims. In response, not one Jersey social worker who worked in any of the establishments under fire from Bellwood and Syvret came forward to set the record straight. "That's just Jersey culture," one insider explained to me. Two Jersey social workers I met in London by chance grumbled about Jersey getting a bad image from my stories, but both declined my offer to put their views in public. While the island's chief executive Bill Ogley gave us a statement, it did not really probe into why questionable practice had occurred in the first place.
Social work blog, 25 February 2008



Child's body found at care home
BBC News

 Parts of a child's body have been found by police in a former children's home in Jersey.

Police believe more bodies may be found at Haut de la Garenne in St Martin, which is at the centre of an inquiry into alleged child abuse.

The remains are thought to date from the early 1980s. Police have not said whether they are male or female.

The investigation involves the abuse of boys and girls aged between 11 and 15, since the 1960s.

BBC News , February 23, 2008


Child's Skeleton Found In Jersey: Parts of a child's body have been found at a former care home in Jersey.

Sky News

The remains, which are not thought to be recent, were found at the Haut de la Garenne site on the island.

It is not known if the skeleton is male or female, a spokeswoman for Jersey police said.

The discovery was made at around 9.30am this morning by officers who have been excavating the site for the past four days.

The search is continuing and the spokeswoman said they "could not rule out" the possibility that more remains will be found.

SkyNews, February 23, 2008



Investigating Jersey's 'abuse' history
By Robert Hall

A police investigation in Jersey has highlighted alleged physical and sexual abuse against children dating back to the 1960s.

The current focus is a children's care home where attacks may have taken place over three decades.

On a hilltop near Jersey's east coast, the buildings are familiar as a setting for the BBC's Bergerac series.

But, after 12 months of covert investigation, detectives believe the former Haut de la Garenne care home may have had a more sinister past.

Built at the turn of the 20th Century, Haut de La Garenne served as a school and as an orphanage, before becoming part of Jersey's childcare provision.

BBC News, 4 December 2007

Exclusive: UK social worker blows the whistle on Jersey
writes Maria Ahmed

A UK social worker has helped to spark a major inquiry into children's services in Jersey amid widespread concerns about child protection on the island.

Simon Bellwood was sacked after making a complaint about a "Dickensian" system in a secure unit where children as young as 11 were routinely locked up for 24 hours or more in solitary confinement.

Practitioners including Bellwood claim children in Jersey are being put at risk in child care services because of deficient practice, poor staff training, lack of external scrutiny of services and a "culture of fear" preventing staff from speaking out.

Community Care, 07 September 2007



Jersey whistleblower: Why I went on the record
writes Simon Bellwood

For me, there were two separate occasions of going ‘on the record’.  The first was back in January when I felt that I had no option but to make a formal complaint about the treatment of children in the secure children’s home.  The second was when I decided to publicise my concerns with Community Care.
 My formal complaint involved compiling a letter into which I put a great deal of thought and time.  I hand delivered it to the Chief Executive of Health and Social Services and to the Directorate Manager of Social Services.  They independently reassured me, and even thanked me for having the courage to come forward with my concerns.  For a moment I felt comforted.  It seemed probable that my concerns would be investigated and that the truth would put an end to the punitive treatment of children and young people in secure accommodation in Jersey.  After many months of waiting and isolation from the workplace, I received notification that “no evidence had been found” to support my allegations.  I was dismissed from my post within a fortnight.

Community Care, 30 August 2007



Six care workers sacked for whistleblowing awarded £1m

Lost in care - The Wales Child Abuse Scandal and the Waterhouse Report



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