Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 10:41 UK

MP demands 'Jersey abuse' inquiry

A World War II bunker near Haut de la Garenne is now under investigation

A Labour MP is calling on the UK government to hold an inquiry into child abuse allegations in Jersey.

Austin Mitchell has tabled a Commons motion asking for an independent probe to be carried out by a judge from the British mainland.

Former children's home Haut de la Garenne is at the centre of a historic child abuse investigation by police.

Mr Mitchell says he has no confidence in moves by Jersey's government, which is likely to set up a public inquiry.

The Grimsby MP questioned whether the island's authorities could deal with the issues "with sufficient independence and rigour because of the scale and the long history of the problem".

He said there was a "prevailing desire on the part of the Jersey elites to sweep scandal and abuse under the carpet to preserve their reputation".

He has accused the authorities on the island of failing to prevent such abuses for decades.

Jersey's government has dismissed similar claims in the past.

War bunker

In February, Jersey police began an exploratory search of Haut de la Garenne following allegations of abuse by former residents.

Fragments of a child's skull were discovered under a staircase but tests later turned out to be inconclusive.

The excavation focussed on the building's cellars and has since uncovered numerous human remains and thousands of exhibits.

Police say they are confident violence took place at the home, but a murder inquiry still remains only a possibility.

About 100 people have made allegations of abuse at the home between the early 1960s and 1986.

Police so far have about 100 suspects, though they say only 18 of these are significant.

A World War II bunker, which is about 500m from the former home, is also under investigation after six witnesses alleged they were abused there.

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