And Who May Never be Found.
Jersey Media Reports the “End of the Murder Enquiry”.
A person left a comment on my blog, which I reproduce below this post.
I’m asked for information concerning reports which have appeared in the Jersey media to the effect that “the Police have dropped the murder enquiry”.
As I have explained on many previous occasions in this blog, the Jersey media are totally crap.
So – yes, the Jersey Evening Post splashed a huge headline to the effect that the murder investigation had been abandoned.
This tragic attempt to rubbish the work of the Police was laughable in a strange kind of way, as it served as further evidence – as though it were needed – of The Rag desperately trying to push the Jersey establishment agenda.
And BBC Jersey – in marked contrast - please note - to the BBC at national level – is also crap.
Indeed, it seems to pursue the very same agenda as the JEP.
So – sure enough – the thrust of the BBC Jersey headline was ‘murder enquiry called off.’
So what, then, is the truth?
The murder enquiry has not been called off.
What the States of Jersey Police, in fact, announced was that the fragment of a child’s skull had proven impossible to date accurately, but the best forensics could say was that it may be early 20th century.
So they couldn’t regard it as evidence of murder in respect of their investigation into historic abuse since 1945.
But – the Police have announced today that they have found further bone fragments and children’s teeth in their excavation of one of the punishment cellars.
This is also not to lose sight of the fact – before the JEP pops too many Champaign corks at a Police “failure” - that the fragment of skull previously found may still have come from a murdered child – but maybe from 80 years ago? If so, that child remains every bit as much a tragic victim as the more recent victims.
To be clear, the scene remains the site of an ongoing enquiry into potential homicides with further digs being undertaken.
The Police are to bring in ground-penetrating radar to continue their work.
One might have gleaned this from reading the small print of the local Jersey media, or listening closely - but you could be forgiven for having gained the impression that the investigation into possible murders was over - if you just relied on the headlines.
Personally – I really, really hope that there were no child killings related to that place.
If the Police were ultimately happy to conclude – categorically- that no deaths had occurred – that would be a weight off my mind.
Knowing what many of the surviving victims went through – having listened to them – the thought of what any murdered children must have gone though makes me feel cold with horror.
This is just my opinion – not an ‘informed’ comment - but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Police did not find any human remains which could be definitively linked to child killings at Haute de la Garrene.
But that inability to find definitive evidence for murders does not mean that they didn’t happen.
A great deal of re-construction work has been undertaken at the site over the decades. Grounds, floors, basements etc have been altered, dug out and changed. Much of this work may have been perfectly innocent.
But some of it may have been undertaken precisely to disguise, destroy, scatter or remove the remains of the children.
And we have the recent discovery of two large pits which were dug in the late 1970’s by a contractor. He was employed to dig two deep pits in the grounds – and then come back the next day and re-fill them again.
He asked what the purpose of this strange task was, and he was told “that’s none of your concern.”
When he returned the next day to fill them, about a metre of lime had been placed in the bottom.
Now – why would the institution go to the expense of employing a man with a digger - to come and excavate two deep pits in the lawn behind the building – put a metre-odd of lime in the bottom of each pit overnight – and then have the man come back the next day to refill the holes and level-off the ground?
What is the usual reason why people dig deep pits and put a load of lime in them?
Of course – there could – possibly – be an innocent explanation for this most strange conduct.
But you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to think of decidedly non-innocent explanations.
Given the propensity of lime to break-down human remains.
So if – and I accept it is an “if” – the purpose of these pits was to dispose of the remains of killed children - the lime may have destroyed them.
Even if the remnants of children were disposed of in these holes – there may now simply be no trace of them.
But there are other, evidenced, reasons why no definitive remains may be found.
And I’m sorry if this upsets people – but I feel it should be known.
A workman – a possibly very important witness – came to me with information.
Information which I quickly passed onto the States of Jersey Police Force.
He came to me first as he hadn’t had an entirely happy experience with the police in years gone by.
He explained to me what he had seen, and even provided a written explanation - and drew a map of the site – on which he pin-pointed the areas which troubled him.
Some years ago – I won’t be definitive for legal reasons – he was driving trucks to and from Haute de la Garrene during one of its various phases of “renovation”.
The loads consisted of rubble, earth, hardcore, builders waste and similar materials. During one of these journeys, he saw a significant number of bones amongst the rubble he was to take for disposal.
He remarked on this to his foreman, who blithely asserted they were ‘animal bones’, and ‘not to worry about it’.
Trucks with this kind of inert waste – rubble, and so forth – would be driven to the various land reclamation sites which extend out from around St. Helier’s harbour.
There the loads would be dumped – amongst hundreds of thousands of tonnes of similar waste from the island’s construction industry.
These in-filing operations go on for years – until we have an area of new land.
Land of sufficient depth and elevation to cope with Jersey’s 13 metre tides.
If the broken and scattered remains of children were dug out from where they had been hidden by their killers – and taken within trucks of rubble and dumped down amongst the accumulated debris of decades in St. Helier’s land reclamation sites – then they are lost to us.
Their very existence almost passed from human knowledge.
Now I cannot set eyes on the vast areas of these land reclamation sites and not ask the question –
‘Are you in there - somewhere?
Are the once animate fragments of your brief existence scattered and settled?
Amongst the builders’ rubble, old paint cans, asbestos and toxic incinerator ash?’
I like to imagine myself as a rational thinker. I’m not religious, and I don’t believe in mystical powers. But as I look out over St. Helier’s ‘Waterfront’ – and ponder the accreted depth of land beneath roads, office-blocks, industrial sheds, fuel tanks, night clubs and fast-food joints – I cannot but wish for the existence of some kind of psychic power – a means of reaching back across time and between the realms of life and death – and just, somehow, searching for them – emotionally reaching out to any children there.
Just searching – and trying to reach out to them.
But in reality – I just look at those vast sedimentations, grown like a cancer around St. Helier, and think it possible that children, abandoned, perhaps, who’s existence was never even recorded – who may have lived a short life – suffered appallingly – then been murdered – may lay in fragments amongst the filth – waiting for that inevitable release brought by rising and eroding tides. Perhaps within decades.
Are – or are not – the remains of killed children scattered and hidden?
The Police may simply be – ultimately - unable to answer that question.
One way or the other.
The investigation into possible homicides may reach an inconclusive terminus.
We may simply never know.
And it’s the not-knowing I find hard.
So – just in case – whenever I look at St. Helier’s land reclamations sites – I try, in my non-religious way – to offer out a silent thought. As though acknowledging that this may be the resting-place of children could briefly bring some kind of balm to the wounds by which they were removed from this life.
Vanished and forgotten children may not lay fragmented through these dumps – but equally - they might.
We just may never know.
Comment from Elaine
Can Stuart, or any of the readers of this very blog, perhaps confirm or deny what I was told a couple of days ago;
I do not live in Jersey, nor do I listen over Internet to local radio stations, however, my sister told me that she definitely heard it said on BBC Radio Jersey that the murder inquiry at H de la G has been called off. I.e. finished, over and done with. How can this be possible?
Did anyone else hear this? Sorry to use your wonderful blog as a questioning board Stuart, but very little news is getting out from Jersey now, and all I seem to get is whatever goes on Sky, which I know is generally very accurate, or whatever text messages I get from family and friends who are still there.
Also, I recently read an article, can't remember if it may have been from the rag online, that Jersey prison is not adequate for the amount of prisoners it holds today. This is something I have been very concerned about, as if there are so many 'accused' to be arrested and tried, will they all get sent home at the end of it cos there is no room to put them where they belong, behind bars?
From a very concerned Elaine.