Jersey police release sketch of bricked-up room

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The Independent Online

Police on the island of Jersey have released a sketch of a bricked-up room at a former children's home that is the focus of a child abuse investigation.

The grim prospect of more bodies being discovered was raised tonight after a search dog, specially-trained to find human remains, showed an "extremely strong reaction" to the hidden cellar, police said.

The development is at Haut de la Garenne, the former care home at the centre of a child abuse investigation involving more than 160 victims over a 40-year period.

Forensic teams, who have already found a child's skull and remains at the site, believe there is a second underground chamber that they are yet to break into.

Both chambers are believed to be the same size, an estimated 12ft square and around 8ft high.

Jersey Deputy Police Chief Lenny Harper said: "We have put the dog into a part of the cellar. We have an extremely strong reaction from the dog in one area.

"The reaction was evident. It was similar to the reaction when we found the partial remains."

He said an item was also found in the chamber fixed to the floor but would not say what it was.

He added it was in the same area where the dog reacted and added what they have found in the cellar corroborates some of the evidence they have received from victims.

"There is another room of the same size that appears to have been bricked up," he said. "Some of the bricking up appears suspicious but there could be an innocent explanation for it.

"The initial look at what is in there certainly corroborates some of the victims."

There are now more than 200 victims and witnesses involved in the investigation. Some who have spoken of their alleged abuse claim the cellars were used to abuse children and keep them in solitary confinement.

Police have received more than 70 calls in the past few days, some of whom have mentioned the cellar, and said there are now 40 suspects in the inquiry.