Teeth found in cellar of abuse probe home

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The Independent Online

Experts searching a hidden cellar at the former Haut de la Garenne children's home on Jersey have discovered children's milk teeth, police revealed today.

Forensic archaeologists also found further bone fragments in the area following indications from specialist search dogs.

"We cannot be sure at this stage if the bone is human or animal and it will be forwarded to the UK for tests," a States of Jersey Police spokeswoman said.

"The teeth could have come from the same child although further tests will be necessary to try and ascertain if that is the case, and how the teeth might have come to be there."

The discovery came as specialists continued to probe the final pair of four underground chambers referred to as "punishment rooms" by victims who claim they were physically and sexually abused.

Last week police revealed that they had found found bloodstained items in the same area.

Experts are also continuing to investigate the site of an unexplained pit dug in the 1970s or 1980s.

Police were alerted to the spot by a member of the public who contacted them to say he had been called in by staff and asked to dig two holes near the boys' dormitory.

He was later asked to fill them in again but when he asked staff why he was told it was "none of his concern".

Excavation of the first of the two pits has already revealed it had lime at the bottom.

Around 100 people have claimed they were abused at Haut de la Garenne since the 1960s, prompting one of biggest such investigations ever seen in the British Isles.

The former home was dubbed the "house of horrors" after fragments of a child's skull were found buried under a stairwell in February.

Although tests have been unable to identify the child or accurately date the fragment, forensic examinations suggest the person must have died before the 1940s.

As the forensic search got under way, two secret underground chambers, where alleged victims said they were kept in solitary confinement, were uncovered.

Shackles were discovered and blood spots were detected in a bath.

Then the two further secret rooms were discovered.

So far one person has been charged in connection with allegations of abuse at Haut de la Garenne.

Former warder Gordon Claude Wateridge is charged with three offences of indecent assault on girls under 16 between 1969 and 1979.

The 76-year-old appeared before St Helier Magistrates' Court earlier this month and was released on conditional bail to May 12.

There are thought to be more than 40 suspects in the inquiry as a whole.

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