Today, a Jersey Police Chief was suspended after two senior officers ruled out any evidence of murder at a former children’s home after claims that the bone fragments found could have dated back to the 15th century.
Graham Power, Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police was relieved of his duties after any suggestion of murder at the home was denied . His role oversaw the £4 million inquiry of the suspected dismemberment and torture of children who resided at the home between the early 1960s to 1986.
The investigation first began in 2006 after scandal, surrounding the home, emerged when a child’s skull was discovered. At the time of its launch, the home was being used as a youth hostel called Haut de la Garenne. Since then, many people have come forward with claims of being drugged, raped, tortured and beaten at the home. Currently, three people have been charged and are awaiting trial in the abuse inquiry.
Mr Power’s former deputy, Lenny Harper was previously criticised by the two officers that took over the investigation, after his retirement in August. One of his successors, David Warcup ruled out any suggestion of abuse and stated: ‘It is very unfortunate and I have much regret that information has been given by police that was not strictly accurate.’
His colleague, Detective Superintendent Michael Gradwell, also discredit many of the evidence found in the grounds of the home. The child’s skull found was soon identified as a coconut shell from the 19th Century. Also, secret underground chambers that were discovered, which many victims referred as ‘punishment chambers’, were soon found to just be cellars.
He further discredited ‘shackles’ as just mere rusty metal and bone fragments were seen to date back to the 1470s to the 1670s which was long before the home was built.
The officers statements have created immense controversy and campaigners have requested for a homicide inquiry to be launched by the UK Government.
Senator Stuart Syvret, a former minister for Health and Social Services defended Mr Harper’s work and said that the officers were trying to ‘rubbish Mr Harper’s work by denying any children were murdered.’
Jersey’s Chief Minister, Frank Walker, announced that he was suspending Mr Power while an inquiry was called out.
Mr Power said: ‘I strenuously deny any wrongdoing and will rigorously contest any allegation in respect of my role. I have been offered an opportunity to retire from my role as chief officer by the Minister for Home Affairs, but have chosen instead to contest the allegations. ‘
Mr Walker has also demanded an explanation from Lenny Harper who attracted media attention by hinting that up to six children may have been murdered, dismembered and cremated in a furnace below the Victorian building.