Mysterious Pits Investigated at Former Jersey Child Care Home

Large amounts of lime, which can be used to disintegrate corpses, have been found in a pit uncovered at a former children’s care home at the centre of abuse allegations.

Detectives investigating at Haut de la Garenne in Jersey this morning say they can think of no explanation for the existence of the chemical in one of two holes dug at the rear of the buildings.

The discovery was prompted by a man who came forward to reveal that he had been asked by members of staff to dig the pits one day in the 1980s and fill them in again the next morning.

“When he asked what the pits were for he was told it was none of his concern,” the States of Jersey Police said in a statement.

“He returned the next day and was told by the carers to fill in the pits. He did so.

“According to the witness this played on his mind for some years and led him to come to the States of Jersey Police and pointing out where he created the holes.”

Last week police excavated the first of the pits, which was 1.5m (5ft) deep, and found “a large quantity of lime” at the bottom. There was nothing else in the pit.

Police said that “the enquiry team can think of no reason why this pit would have been created nor why it was filled with lime.”

The statement stressed: “We would emphasise that we have no evidence of any motive.”

The second pit is currently being excavated.

Lime, or calcium oxide, has traditionally been used in the burial of bodies in open graves to disintegrate bodies and hide the smell of decomposition.

There was also a large amount of lime under a stairwell where fragments of a child's skull were discovered in February.

Archaeologists who carried out tests said it could not have been buried "in a much less favourable environment" and that the protein collagen had been completely destroyed in the bone.

Police said this meant they had no knowledge of how, when or where the person died.

A spokeswoman said forensic officers continue to examine the third and fourth rooms of cellars at the home.

"A number of finds have been made and are being studied," she said.

"They have the potential to further corroborate the versions of events given to us by victims who have come forward.

"It is expected that this work will continue into next week."

More than 160 alleged victims have come forward so far to tell of the abuse meted out at several care homes across the island.

A hundred of these testimonies came from former residents of Haut de la Garenne.

A list of 40 suspects has been drawn up as a result of the abuse investigation and Jersey police said they expect to make arrests in the near future.

So far only one man has been charged in connection with the abuse inquiry.

Gordon Claude Wateridge is charged with three offences of indecent assault on girls under 16 between 1969 and 1979 when he was warder at the home.

The 76-year-old is on conditional bail and will next appear before St Helier Magistrates' Court on May 12 at 10am.

Wateridge, who is originally from Croydon, south London, has not entered a plea.

Haut de la Garenne originally opened as an Industrial School for Boys in 1850 and was taken over by the States of Jersey in 1921 as a children’s home. It closed in 1986


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...