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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 20:18 GMT
Latest Jersey finds 'significant'
Police excavation tent at Haut de la Garenne

Police searching a former children's home following child abuse allegations say they have discovered "a couple of finds of some significance".

The finds were made in a cellar under Haut de la Garenne in Jersey, where 160 people have said they were abused.

Lenny Harper, Jersey's deputy police chief, said: "They are items which witnesses have said were in there when offences were committed against them."

On Saturday a child's skull was discovered on the premises.

Underground room

Search teams have been digging turf around the home's grounds which they believe may have been disturbed.

The BBC's Robert Hall said he had learned the cellar contained a shallow bath and a set of shackles.

The shackles had been found on the floor but may once have been fastened to the wall, he added.

Mr Harper said the finds were made in a bricked-up cellar - one of three underground rooms being investigated by officers at the home.

He told reporters that the two items discovered would "tend to provide corroboration for some of the allegations which we have received about offences that were committed".

Deputy Chief Officer of Jersey Police Lenny Harper
We are looking for all sorts of evidence which would include, I would have to say, human remains
Lenny Harper
Deputy Chief Officer of Jersey Police

However, he declined to answer questions about what the discoveries may have been, and refused to be drawn on reports that one of the items found was a set of shackles.

But no further human remains had been found, he added.

Mr Harper said one of the items was discovered on February 27 and the second on February 28.

He added that detectives did not have a "definitive" list of missing children.

"What we do have are anecdotal statements along the lines of: 'We were in there with such and such a person', and maybe a first name, 'and they got into a row and there were screams one night and they didn't appear again the next day and someone said they had run away to the UK'," he said.

"We are looking for all sorts of evidence which would include, I would have to say, human remains."

A sniffer dog reacted "strongly" when it entered the room on Wednesday, according to officers.

A forensic archaeologist has been sifting through large piles of rubble and soil in the cellar.

Mr Harper said a second underground room adjoining the first had still to be searched. It is understood to be the same size as the first - about 12ft square and 8ft high - and also bricked up.

And a former member of staff at the home who contacted police about a third underground room - unconnected with the first two cellars - will be asked to help officers locate it.

The former employee added that the third cellar was not part of the main building and was used as a store room, a police spokesman said.

The former Haute de la Garenne home care home and Jersey Sea Cadets are the main focus of an investigation into the sexual and physical abuse of boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 15 dating back over several decades.



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A Jersey police chief talks about findings



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