BBC OnePanorama


Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 10:56 UK

Jersey: Island of Secrets

Haut de la Garenne
Panorama: Jersey - Island of Secrets, BBC One Monday 31 March 2008
New allegations of child abuse in Jersey are being made as police continue their investigations at Haute de la Garenne.

Panorama has uncovered a number of alleged abuse cases at another home on the island and tracked down one of the abusers - believed by the police to be dead - but in reality very much alive and living in France.

When Haute de la Garenne was closed in 1986 the children were transferred to smaller units - one such unit was Blanche Pierre run by Jane and Alan Maguire, who for ten years opened their doors to troubled, lonely or vulnerable children.

Brutal regime

Panorama has spoken to seven former residents of the home who all recall abuse. All tell similar stories of being trapped in a brutal regime of physical and mental torture.

They put Dettol in my mouth and swilled it round and it went down my throat and it burnt my throat

Former resident Jean Michel recalled: "Me and my sister would always argue over petty little things you know, end up in little squabbles from it, therefore you just sort of had a little sharp tongue, we'd have soap rammed down our throat for it..."

"It would be grated all along the back of your teeth and his nails would be all against the top of the roof of your mouth."

Severe pain

Another former resident of Blanche Pierre, Darren said: "They put Dettol in my mouth and swilled it round and it went down my throat and it burnt my throat.

Darren says he had Dettol poured into his mouth
"I could hardly breathe, I was in severe pain, I was screaming because my throat swelled up, I could not breathe and I was burning because it's undiluted Dettol in my mouth and my throat.

"(They) didn't even take me to the doctors or anything. I couldn't breathe properly, I couldn't eat properly, I couldn't talk properly and it hurt."

A neighbour of the Maguire's recalled some of the treatment given out to the children.

Joyce Symons said: "Darren an older child was put in the corner of the playroom and he was left there to stand sometimes all day in the corner and I would be by my kitchen and the window, my kitchen window looks into the playroom and he'd be stood there crying, a beautiful looking child and it used to make me cry and he used to be hit by what I thought was a stick."

She said: "Alan Maguire was the one who inflicted the punishment and Jane Maguire would just sit by and let it happen."

New job

In 1990, two staff complained about the Maguires' behaviour to the authorities who took action after a fashion.

The couple were allowed to 'retire' from Blanche Pierre and even sent a letter from the Education Committee thanking them for their "110% commitment and hard work, the proof of which will live on in the children for whom you have shown much love and care".

Alan Maguire
Panorama tracked Alan Maguire down to a village in France
Remarkably, Jane Maguire was then allowed to take up a new job with the local authority which meant she continued to work with children and disadvantaged adults.

Years after the first complaints about the Maguires, the police were finally called. Former residents, neighbours and staff gave statements and the case even got as far as a magistrates court.

Alan Maguire was said to have been suffering from liver cancer, and the case was eventually abandoned due to "insufficient evidence".

Finally after a further year, a confidential report, by the Health and Social Services department, catalogued the extent of the abuse.

It found Jane Maguire guilty of gross misconduct and recommended her dismissal.

Nine years after the first complaints she finally left social services.

The police have long believed that Alan Maguire died of a terminal illness.

However Panorama tracked both he and his wife down to a small village in the South of France.

Alan Maguire gave Panorama a frosty reception. When challenged he got in his car and drove away. No apology for the victims of abuse.

Panorama: Jersey - Island of Secrets. Monday 31 March 8.30pm BBC One

video and audio news
Doorstep confrontation

Panorama: Jersey - Island of Secrets

What You've Said
01 Apr 08 |  Panorama


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific