Monday, May 19, 2008

Haut de la Garenne Skull Fragment in Question

Scientists have concluded the bone fragment found buried in a stairwell at Haut de la Garenne in late February, may only be a piece of wood or seed.

That original find led to the discovery of four underground cellars where other items have been found that appear to corroborate reports of abuse by over 100 people who have come forward.

The fragment in question already appeared to be irrelevant to the investigation. In mid-March, police were told the fragment did not contain enough collagen to date it properly, because it was so old.

After further analysis it is thought the fragment was possibly a piece of wood or seed and if it was bone, it dated back prior to 1940. That opinion eliminated the specific item of evidence, as it predated the scope of the investigation. Lenny Harper, lead investigator claims this development did not affect the on-going investigation.

The Telegraph reports a police spokesperson as saying:
"By this time anyway, the item had been eliminated from the inquiry because of the confirmation of the archaeological context in which it had been found."

But she insisted that the development had not been kept from the media intentionally and was not highlighted because it would "distract" from the investigation.

She said: "Mr. Harper, takes full responsibility for the decision to curtail the debate on the item which had already been ruled out of the enquiry and which would have indeed distracted attention from the victims of abuse."

Additional possible bone fragments, as well as six children’s teeth are still being tested and results are expected later this week.

Regardless of tests results, this does not refute the seriousness of the victim’s allegations of abuse, nor does it excuse those responsible for concealing the abuse.


Lenny Harper Says Bone Fragment Debate Irrelevant
The Mail on Sunday claims tests show the bone fragment was in fact a piece of wood or coconut shell, accusing Harper of intentionally withholding the information.

Harper conceded that analysts raised doubt in April and that he had been told at the end of April that a fragment, originally thought to be human, could still be poorly preserved human bone.

In an interview with the BBC, Harper said, “we had a number of communications saying 'We do not think it's bone, but if it is, it is very old bone,' but at that time we had ruled the bone out of the inquiry."

"We did not want to get pulled into a debate between experts about whether this item had anything to do with the inquiry," he added.

"The irony is that it is distracting from it now and that's something I have got to accept.”

"I made the decision in good faith and our priority is for the victims in these cases and that's the basis on which the decision was made."

Harper insists police have always been transparent and it was his decision "rightly or wrongly" not to release the information.