Monday, March 17, 2008

First Person Charged in the Haut de la Garenne Scandal Appears in Court and the Investigation Continues Moving Forward

A 76-year-old former warder at Haut de la Garenne was remanded in custody Monday, when he appeared in court charged with sex offenses against young girls.

Gordon Claude Wateridge faces three counts of indecently assaulting girls under the age of 16 between 1969 and 1979. Magistrates ordered him to reappear on April 14.

Wateridge is the only person, so far, to be charged in the abuse probe into Haut de la Garenne and a number of other homes and schools in Jersey. He did not enter a plea at today’s hearing.

Investigators are still deciding how to deal with drain in the second chamber that the sniffer dog showed great interest in. They fear tampering with the drain could destroy potential evidence.

Lenny Harper told the BBC: "One of our biggest difficulties at the moment is deciding how to tackle the problem of the evidence we think may be located in and around the drain which leads from the bath in room number one of the cellar.
"The dog showed a great deal of interest in that area and we now have to work out how to remove the drain and examine it without destroying any evidence that may be in there.
"Our forensic examiner is in contact with colleagues in the UK about the best way we could do that."

Harper also said that once investigators finish sifting through the debris in the second chamber, they will move on to other areas of “interest” in the building. It has been indicated that there may still be two additional chambers. Harper said they might be looking at another three weeks of work in the building.

Police hope to start getting results from some of the forensic materials sent for analysis, including the skull fragment, within the next week.

Mr Harper said investigators have not found anything unusual in the second cellar yet, adding: "Nothing, as has been reported in some of the national media, that resembles any torture items."

He insisted the probe is progressing "exactly as we would have wanted it to" and vowed: "We won't be deflected. We will keep on working for the victims and bring people to justice in the end."

Senator Stuart Syvret Blog