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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 March 2008, 17:38 GMT
Jersey home witness 'intimidated'
Excavations at Haut de la Garenne

Police have issued a warning after claims an ex-worker at the Jersey care home at the centre of a child abuse inquiry has intimidated a witness.

Deputy police chief Lenny Harper said any such behaviour would be dealt with as a "serious criminal offence".

Around 160 people claim they were abused at Haut de la Garenne, where a child's remains were found last week.

Forensic experts are continuing to excavate its cellars and suspect there may be four bricked-up chambers.

Mr Harper told reporters police had been able to substantiate "to some degree" reports that someone had been approached by a former care worker.

"I can't emphasise too much that anyone approaching victims or witnesses in this case could well be found to be perverting the course of justice," he warned.

"The police will not tolerate it. We will not stand for it and we will deal with anyone who does."

Forensic officer examining Haut de la Garenne

Mr Harper estimated it could take a month to finish tests on the human remains found so far, which he conceded could pre-date the investigation.

"It's also a distinct possibility that the person didn't die unlawfully. The truth of the matter is we just don't know," he said.

Twelve detectives from forces across England and Wales have been requested to help with the investigation.

Excavations at the site are also being assisted by a forensic archaeologist and a forensic anthropologist.

Officers have already excavated one bricked up chamber. A second chamber, yet to be broken into, is next to it and detectives believe there could be two more connected to that.

A set of shackles has been recovered from the chamber in the cellar, which police say corroborates some of the evidence from former residents.

'Nothing to hide'

On Friday, Tony and Morag Jordan, of Kirriemuir, in Angus, Scotland, who worked as house parents at Haut de la Garenne from 1971 to 1984, insisted they have "nothing to hide".

In a statement issued through their solicitors, the couple said they would help police with their inquiries.

The former 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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