News of the World, 16th March 2008
By Lucy Panton & Philip Whiteside
Paedophile yachtsmen were given children to abuse at sea
CHILDREN from the Jersey House of Horrors were loaned to rich paedophile yachtsmen as galley sex slaves, a News of the World investigation reveals. The youngsters were told by care staff the boat rides were treats – only to be assaulted and raped at sea by pervert toffs.
Details of the sick attacks emerged as we discovered even more blood has been found in a bath in the dungeon underneath the Haut de la Garenne home-and in the drains.
And our reporters have been told how builders on renovations at the home were urged by staff to burn any bones they dug up.
Today we also uncover the full extent of the dark forces of corruption hampering the police investigation.
We can reveal worried cops feel under so much pressure over the abuse allegations they are preparing to bypass Jersey’s own legal system and hand their evidence to our government.
This could include files on up to seven social workers and carers who worked at the sinister home-including one nicknamed the ‘pinball wizard’ who hurled kids against the walls to see how far they would bounce.
At least two previous senior employees of children’s services on the island are also under investigation despite the attempts of corrupt former policemen, politicians and businessmen to scupper the inquiry.
We understand that two weeks ago Jersey ministers secretly voted to have senior police investigator Lenny Harper removed from the case because they believed he was too open with the media. But the Chief of Police Graham Power refused.
A source told us: “Such important figures have been implicated in the cover-up of abuse on the island that the cops feel the evidence should now be passed to the British government
“The latest revelations are explosive. It is going to cause massive waves within the political and legal world and could bring the whole of Jersey’s infrastructure crashing down.”
One of the most serious lines of inquiry in the investigation is that children were regularly loaned to wealthy yachtsmen to “do with them what they chose for the day,” according to our source close to the investigation.
Haut de la Garenne staff described the trips as a treat for children who spent long hours cooped up at the home. But in reality the kids were subjected to the vilest sexual abuse on board the luxury boats.
Our source said: “The allegations about the yachting community have come in from a number of different people. It is a very strong line of inquiry and when the evidence is made public people will be horrified.”
Meanwhile about a dozen bones found at the home have been sent to a DNA lab to find out how old they are -yet some bone fragments were too burnt to be tested.
Police have taken statements from local builders who were told: “If you find bones, get rid of them or burn them.” New blood spots have been discovered in cracks in a concrete bath in the underground chamber and have also been sent for tests and sniffer dogs trained to find blood have found scents in the drains underneath.
Forensic officers are now focusing on the wooden trapdoor leading to a second torture cellar in a bid to extract DNA or fingerprints.
Our source said: “Detectives are doing everything they can to ensure every scrap of evidence is properly investigated. They are very aware that the home dates back to 1856 and some of these bones could be very old.
“This is going to be a long process but the officers have been presented with so many accounts of abuse and cover-ups it is crucial we get answers. People disclosing the abuse have been easy to ignore but finally they are getting a chance to be taken seriously.”
The horrors being uncovered at Haut de la Garenne have revealed a Jersey tourists have never seen.
Former abused care home residents claim what happened to them has been covered up by those in high office, desperate not to tarnish Jersey’s good name or risk politicians in London reducing their power over the tiny, but extremely wealthy, island.
Although Jersey is part of the British Isles and under the Queen’s rule, it has a separate government system dating back to King John’s reign, and makes its own rules and laws.
Jersey’s 53-member parliament has no political parties. Its politicians, judges, policemen and business leaders come from a small elite-often linked by friendship or family.
The island’s equivalent of our Commons Speaker is also its top judge-so the system of checks and balances between politics and the law we have in the UK is almost non-existent.
This is a place where the authorities allowed 43-year-old convicted paedophile Roger Holland to stand for election as an honorary constable officer- similar to a special cop in the UK, but with more powers. They knew that six years earlier he had indecently assaulted a mentally impaired 14- year-old girl and admitted molesting another girl. But he got the job and in 1997 rose to become vingtenier-the second most senior cop on the island’s volunteer force.
In 2001 he was jailed for indecently assaulting a young girl in the back of a police van.
“Jersey has for too long been a law unto itself-it is time the truth came out,” says our source.
Among those fighting for that is ex-health minister Senator Stuart Syvret, who resigned over the cover-up and has given statements to police claiming two senior legal figures were involved in the abuse.
Mr Syvret said: “I have given formal statements to the police concerning a number of establishment individuals. Officers I have spoken to are from a force external to Jersey police at the request of Jersey police.” Solicitor Nick le Cornu is also demanding change. “Jersey’s political class have for 60 years been ignoring and covering up poverty and injustice,” he claimed.
Police investigator Lenny Harper, an outsider from Northern Ireland, was the target of a hate campaign- including threats to torch his house -after a string of cops were sacked for corruption. Colleagues say Harper, 56, laughed it off, saying: “I had the IRA on my tail for years-so a few disgruntled people are not going to deter me from doing my job.”
Now he’s facing the biggest test of his career-on the island of fear.