The Haut de la Garenne chil­dren’s home should have been a place of safety. In­stead it har­boured decades of ram­pant abuse and cru­elty

Real Crime - - Contents -

Stun­ning crime pho­tos, present and past, from around the world

Orig­i­nally po­lice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing a sus­pected mur­der. Part of a child’s skull had been dis­cov­ered, fol­lowed by scores of other bones. After a lengthy and thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion the idea of mur­der was dis­missed but other things, just as sin­is­ter, re­mained to be in­ves­ti­gated.

A se­ries of claims were made in re­sponse to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. They al­leged staff had used shack­les, re­straints and a ‘ pun­ish­ment room’ to abuse the chil­dren in care. It was also said that a heav­ily blood­stained bath­tub had been found. Ini­tially fears rose that sys­tem­atic abuse had also in­volved sys­tem­atic mur­der, the vic­tims hav­ing been per­ma­nently si­lenced.

Of the ap­prox­i­mately 170 bone frag­ments dis­cov­ered, only three were judged to be hu­man. Ac­cord­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors, these could have lain there for cen­turies. No mur­ders had been com­mit­ted. But phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal and sex­ual abuse at Haut de la Garenne and other Jer­sey chil­dren’s homes cer­tainly had.

While the al­leged mur­der was in­ves­ti­gated scores of re­ports al­leged ram­pant cru­elty and abuse. A youth hos­tel when this pho­to­graph was taken, Haut de la Garenne was pre­vi­ously a chil­dren’s home. It was quickly dubbed the ‘ house of hor­rors.’ Al­le­ga­tions of abuse dated back to the end of World War II.

Even­tu­ally eight peo­ple were pros­e­cuted for 145 of­fences across the care sys­tem in Jer­sey. Seven were con­victed, while other ac­cused abusers had al­ready died.

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