ROOFTOP PROTEST, BURIED SECRETS, VALENTINE’S DAY MURDERS AND MORE
The Haut de la Garenne children’s home should have been a place of safety. Instead it harboured decades of rampant abuse and cruelty
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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.