Child's remains found at former care home

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The Independent Online

Parts of a child's body have been found at a former care home in Jersey, police have confirmed.

The remains, which are not thought to be recent, were found at the Haut de la Garenne site on the island.

It is not known if the skeleton is male or female, a spokeswoman for Jersey police said.

The discovery was made at around 9.30am this morning by officers who have been excavating the site for the past four days.

The search is continuing and the spokeswoman said they "could not rule out" the possibility that more remains may be found.

The police spokeswoman said: "We don't know yet if the skeleton is male or female, it is still very early stages. It is not thought the remains are recent but we don't know at this time how long they have been there."

Haut de la Garenne and Jersey Sea Cadets are the main focus of a police investigation into alleged child abuse over the past 40 years.

The investigation, launched by the States of Jersey police in November last year, involves a number of historical allegations of sexual and physical abuse of children said to have occurred on premises run by the state or voluntary groups.

The allegations span a period from the 1960s up to the early years of the present decade, although police said the bulk of them focus on the 1970s and 1980s.

The spokeswoman said more than 140 potential victims have contacted a helpline since the investigations began.

Last month, 76-year-old Gordon Claude Wateridge, of St Clement, Jersey, was the first person to be charged in connection with the historical abuse investigation.

He is charged with three alleged offences of historic indecent assaults on girls aged under 16 between 1969 and 1979 at the former Haut de la Garenne children's home.

Haut de la Garenne is a former Victorian school and orphanage which today serves as a youth hostel. It has been featured in the TV detective series Bergerac as a police station.

The excavation of Haut de la Garenne started on Tuesday as a result of information given to police as part of the historic abuse inquiry.

The search by the States of Jersey police was assisted by a team of specialists from the UK including a forensic anthropologist, and ecology and scene specialist, search advisers from the National Police Improvement Agency and a sniffer dog, known as an Enhanced Victim Recovery Dog.

The discovery was made inside the building, but an exact location has not been given.

Police said the site was being treated as a major crime scene, and a possible murder until proven otherwise.