JERSEY "SCANDAL": WOMEN ACCUSERS AND ACCUSEDAdded on March 5, 2008
[ It is typical that a woman who received an MBE for her services to the community, should be a target of abuse allegations. Remember the vile accusations in this country against Sister Stanislaus Kennedy and the late Brother Joseph O'Connor? ]
Police Discover More Bones Inside Chamber of Horrors at Jersey Children's Home [Extract]
Evening Standard (London), 5 March 2008
Police also revealed that former children's television host Jimmy Saville had visited the home on several occasions during the Seventies but is not part of their inquiry. [!!]
A former volunteer, Christine Bowker, also revealed today that she had she encountered children "frozen with fear" while working at the home in the early Seventies.
She claimed that she was met with a "wall of silence" when she tried to raise concerns and eventually left because she was worried about the conduct of some staff.
Ms Bowker said: "[The staff] watched me very carefully with the children and if the children relaxed at all or responded to my affection, they glared at the children then the children just went back into their shells.
"When I left... and I left in distress and abuse I received from some of the staff... I couldn't get anybody to listen to the problem," she said.
However, Patricia Thornton, who was responsible for the wellbeing of youngsters in the home from the early Fifties to 1973, insists she took no part in any abuse or cover-up.
The 85-year-old, who lives in the village of Cheriton, Hampshire, said: "It's awful if it's true but I saw no evidence of it when I was there. "I just find it difficult to believe that all these horrible things were going on and I knew nothing about it."
Miss Thornton, who received an MBE in 1996 for her services to the community, said she was proud of her work at the home.
She added: "When I first arrived in Jersey, there was a home for boys at Haut de la Garenne and a separate home for girls which was not being run very well.
"I was very concerned about the welfare of the girls so I closed it down, pensioned off the lady who had been running it and moved the girls into the boys' home. I was very surprised when I read about the scandal. I feel quite shattered."
But police are continuing to treat Morag Jordan, a former matron at the home, as a suspect.
Angus Council in Scotland confirmed on Monday that Mrs Jordan had been suspended from her post delivering meals on wheels to the elderly.
A spokesman said: "Given the attention currently focused on Mrs Jordan, she has been reassigned to other duties."
Mrs Jordan, who lives in Kirriemuir with her husband Tony, claims she had no involvement with the abuse of children at the home.
And in a clear sign that politicians in Whitehall are taking the scandal seriously, senior justice officials from Jersey States have held talks in London with officials at the Ministry of Justice.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "Clearly, Jersey officials, who requested the meeting, will update their ministry of justice counterparts on the continuing police investigations which are clearly potentially very serious.
"It would not be appropriate to speculate about the outcome of those investigations."