Sniffer dog may have found more human remains at Jersey home

The investigation into child abuse allegations on Jersey took a further grim turn yesterday after a police sniffer dog picked up traces of either human remains or blood in the cellar of the Haut de la Garenne.

Police have been working round-the-clock at the former children's home to gain access to the bricked-up cellar, which a number of witnesses and alleged victims have claimed was where much of the abuse took place during the 1970s and 1980s.

Speaking outside the home, Jersey's deputy police chief, Lenny Harper, said the dog had shown an "extremely strong reaction" when taken into the cellar, which until yesterday afternoon had been inaccessible to officers. He added that the dog's response was similar to that shown when a child's skull was found under a stairwell in the home last weekend.

The discovery of a trace inside the cellar raises the prospect that further human remains may be found in the home, but the police were also keen to stress that if the trace was blood then there could be an innocent explanation for it. Nonetheless, Haut de la Garenne is being treated as a possible murder scene.

Police confirmed that the number of potential victims of abuse had risen to "well in excess of 160". In the past two days alone they have received 70 calls from potential witnesses. Mr Harper said he was hopeful that arrests will be made. Mr Harper, the officer in charge of the international investigation, also revealed that officers came across an item in the basement that had been described in a number of witness statements and which sources have indicated may be a bathtub. Mr Harper refused to confirm what exactly the item was, but indicated it was an ordinary household item that had been bolted to the floor.

"It would appear as if the cellar is exactly as some of the witnesses who've made statements to us and victims have described," he told reporters.

A forensic examiner also discovered what she believes to be a second room of similar dimensions adjacent to the cellar, which has also been bricked up and will need to be broken into. Mr Harper said that both rooms appear to measure approximately 12ft square and are 3-4ft below ground level.

"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."

An archaeologist and specialist anthropologist are expected to go into the cellar today to start sifting through the rubble and debris inside the first room. The investigation of the house was temporarily halted on Tuesday in order to carry out a survey into whether the 130-year building could withstand the excavations. Officers will have to check regularly that the building is safe to continue working in.

Yesterday, police confirmed the excavation of the cellars alone may take weeks.

Although the police are searching a number of other sites around Haut de la Garenne in which the sniffer dog had shown interest last weekend, the cellar is fast emerging as the major focus of the investigation.

Graham Power, Jersey's top police officer, said that many of the alleged victims who have come forward recently have spoken of "this deep, dark place where they claimed sexual and physical abuse took place. These people told us that sometimes they had been abused in that dark place and on other occasions they had been held in there and given food before they were taken out and subjected to abuse."

Police officers travelled to Thailand earlier this week to interview one potential victim, while two statements were also taken from witnesses in Australia last week.

Mr Harper confirmed at least 40 people were now suspects, including former workers at the home and their friends. Some local police officers are also under suspicion, but not for abuse.

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence