There is no evidence that children were murdered at the Haut de la Garenne children’s home on Jersey, a senior detective in the child abuse investigation said yesterday.
Deputy chief officer David Warcup said forensic examination of items including bones and teeth did not indicate any homicides or that bodies had been destroyed, buried or hidden at the site.
Warcup, who took over from Lenny Harper earlier this year, said any further evidence that came to light would be assessed.
He said it was “unfortunate” that information about finds put in the public domain by the Jersey police when Harper was in charge was “inaccurate”.
Blood stains disproven
Warcup said investigators had reached the conclusion that the alleged “skull” fragment found early last year was neither bone nor human.
At his first press conference since taking over from Harper in August, Warcup said a “microscopic” examination had disproven initial reports that a bath was stained with blood. He added there was “no indication the bath was used in the commission of any offences”.
Warcup said an underground area previously described as cellars by people who said they had been abused were “floor voids”. He added that it was “impossible for a grown person to stand up straight” in them.
Just three of 170 fragments of bone recovered were “possibly human” but “not necessarily suspicious”. The others were probably animal.
Two pits dug at the site in the late 1970s were “unexplained” but nothing suspicious had been found in either, Warcup said. There were no people reported missing, he added.
Warcup rejected earlier suggestions that lawyers were failing to work closely enough with the police on the investigation into historic child abuse on the island. The probe is continuing.
Lenny Harper, who is now retired, told BBC News: “My first reaction is of great disappointment at the blatant misrepresentation of things that I am supposed to have said by David Warcup. I really don’t understand that.
“He says that we were claiming there was a murder… I always said all along that we had no evidence of homicide.”
The news came as the island’s most senior police officer Graham Power, was suspended following Warcup’s review of the evidence, which had been requested by Jersey’s home affairs minister Andrew Lewis.
In a statement today, Lewis said Warcup’s findings had “raised questions” about Power’s role.
“It is evident that we didn’t receive all the information about the historic abuse enquiry that we should have received, and that some aspects of this critically important police investigation have not been conducted properly. We are determined to find out why this happened and who was responsible,” he added.
Power, who has led the force for eight years, said: “I strenuously deny any wrong-doing and will rigorously contest any allegations in respect of my role.”
Three people have been charged in relation to the abuse investigation and are awaiting trial.