Jersey latest: Child’s remains found at former children’s home

Jersey Police found what is believed to be partial remains of a child’s body at a former children’s home on the island on Saturday morning.

The finding, at the former Haut De La Garenne home, which closed in 1986, came as part of an ongoing inquiry into historic institutional child abuse on the island, launched in November.

Jersey police are looking at six further sites and fear that further bodies may be found.

Last month, Gordon Claude Wateridge, of St Clement, Jersey, became the first person to be charged in connection with the inquiry. The 76-year-old was charged with three counts of indecent assault on girls aged under 16 between 1969 and 1979 at Haut De La Garenne.

Last year, a child protection inquiry was launched in Jersey after a UK social worker blew the whistle on the “Dickensian” conditions in Greenfields secure unit. Simon Bellwood told Community Care children as young as 11 were routinely locked up for 24 hours or more in solitary confinement. This is not thought to be linked to the police investigation.

Today Bellwood told Community Care the police find was “shocking and horrifying” and said the child care system in Jersey still did not give children adequate protection.

Speaking on the Today programme this morning, the island’s chief minister Frank Walker said “no stone would be left unturned” in the investigation and said anyone involved in “any form of cover-up” would be brought to justice.

He said there was no evidence of current malpractice or to suggest that children were at risk and claimed the island’s children’s services were “excellent.”

Walker said he would await the results of an independent review of children’s services on Jersey by UK expert Andrew Williamson, which is due to be published next month.

But former health and social services minister Stuart Syvret said he was “not confident” that the current care system was satisfactory and said he could not be certain children were safe.

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