Police teams find ‘pieces of bone’ at Jersey home
‘I’ve been bad’ written on wall of cellar
POLICE excavating a former Jersey children’s home at the centre of an abuse investigation have found what may be more human remains, officers said yesterday.
Forensic teams searching Haut de la Garenne found items at the same site where they discovered part of a child’s skull 10 days ago.
Police said a sniffer dog specially trained to find human remains gave a strong reaction to the items found and they were “possibly pieces of bone”.
The announcement came after the first picture of a “punishment room” at the former home was released, revealing a message written on the wall.
On a wooden post against the wall of a secret chamber under the ground floor of the building was written the message “I’ve been bad for years and years”.
Deputy police chief Lenny Harper said: “We continued to excavate the first site at the house and have taken out a few items.
“It is too early to say what the significance of those are. They’re possibly pieces of bone.”
Mr Harper said the sniffer dog gave a strong reaction to the items.
He said he did not know who had written the message found in the cellar.
Police have excavated one underground chamber at the home and believe there could be three more.
The chambers have been described by victims as punishment rooms where they were physically and sexually assaulted.
More than 160 former residents claim they were abused at Haut de la Garenne.
The allegations of physical and sexual abuse stretch back over 40 years.
There are 40 suspects in the inquiry. Asked if arrests were imminent, Mr Harper said: “Suspects are one thing, we need evidence to convict.
“If we get any evidence that they are trying to leave the island we have got a team at the ports and we will take the necessary action.”
He said the operation had taken officers to Thailand, Germany and the British mainland.
Mr Harper said a number of bones have been found during the excavation of a field at the back of the building but all those tested so far have been animal bones.
He also said the investigation team believed there was a “culture” of abuse at the home during certain periods.
“I think we are more looking at a culture rather than a paedophile ring,” he said. “There seem to be periods when it was run as it should have been.”
Meanwhile, Christine Bowker, a former volunteer at the home during the 1970s, said she had encountered children “frozen with fear” and met a “wall of silence” when she tried to raise concerns.
She said she left due to concerns over the conduct of some of the staff.