Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lenny Unleashed - The Jersey Way

~Lenny Harper

Its been going on – mostly behind closed doors - for several years. Since Lenny Harper’s retirement and departure from Jersey, the politicos, and media have - in a very public way - attempted to tarnish and denigrate Lenny Harper and his team regarding the child abuse investigation, specifically Haut de la Garenne.

While those of us who have followed this scandal have watched these shenanigans, spin doctoring, and well ok, the spewing of out-and-out lies, the assaults began to take on a shocking intensity and frequency as the Gordon Wateridge case got under way.

So, that begs the question WHY?

WHY did the ‘faux’ journalist, Diane Simon – a disgrace to journalists, worldwide – write totally false and misleading information about Lenny and the investigation? And, least we forget Mr. Harper has addressed the issues directly with her and by email on several occasions.

WHY does The Rag editor, Chris Bright allow such tripe to run in his paper? Has the JEP never heard of investigative reporting? Verifying sources? Unbiased Journalism? Oh wait - the only paper on the island is a government puppet.

WHY do Mick Gradwell and David Warcup obviously go out of their way to tarnish the investigation and call into question Mr. Harper’s integrity? Mick Gradwell, in a recent flurry of activity, has suddenly shown up in print and on local TV to specifically trash, and well ok, spew out-and-out lies about Lenny and the investigation. How ironic that Gradwell chose to blatantly proffer his rubbish just as he retired and left the island - to avoid questioning by responsible journalists?

WHY did and does the Jersey government, continue to interfere with the investigation?

Lenny has responded to the claims and assertions on Senator Stuart Syvert’s blog – not much sense responding to The Rag now, is there?

Some bits and pieces:

Ms. Simon and officers Warcup and Gradwell seem to be saying that I became a really bad cop “overnight.”

I do not know a lot about Mr. Warcup or the now retired Mr. Gradwell.

I do not know the extent of Mr. Warcup’s practical experience…

However, I do know that he has admitted destroying evidence in the abuse case - which perhaps does give some clue as to his motivation or professional judgment.

Haut de la Garenne a waste of time and money:

The attention seeking headline in the Gradwell article was that the operation at Haut de la Garenne was “a waste of time and money.” According to Mr. Gradwell, as reported in the JEP, the decision to excavate was made without hard evidence or intelligence. Up until then, he said, the enquiry was being run “essentially along UK lines.” Okay – if I understand him then, we were doing OK until we decided to excavate HDLG. It follows then that he would not have done so. He would have ignored all that we found and walked away. Here again are the (much repeated) reasons why we excavated - in chronological sequence.

There was evidence from one witness that a child had been chased by a member of staff through an upper floor corridor and in desperation had leapt out of a high window. The child had not been seen again. We had non-specific information from a number of witnesses that they had witnessed children being dragged away at night and not being seen again. There was intelligence of illegal forced abortion and of a stillborn child.

I found all of this highly alarming and worrying but I did not consider at that stage that it warranted a full excavation of HDLG. (This is an important point, because after speaking to Gradwell and Warcup, the Met Police accused me of ordering the excavation on the evidence of a few “disturbed” people.

I arranged to go to the UK to meet experts who would be well qualified to advise us on the way forward.

The decision made at this meeting was that we should carry out an initial reconnaissance of the site over a short period to seek to clarify a number of objectives. It was decided that we would deploy several different assets, to be deployed in a “systematic fashion using best value and best practice guidelines.” In simple terms, we wanted to establish if there was anything there which would need further investigation - or if we could “walk away” from it -without further investigation.

Evidence and reports disappear:

…during this process that builders who had worked on the site told us that a few years before they had found bones they were convinced were human but had been told to ‘forget them’ and “let bygones be bygones.” (Eventually these bones were examined by a Jersey Pathologist after police had called her to the home. She told the officer “I don’t like the look of this,” but was later to say she could not remember making that comment. She was “not saying it wasn’t made, but just couldn’t remember it.” She took the bones to her boss whose extremely short (five lines) report said the bones were too large to be human but also stated that one of the bones “could not identified.” He gave the measurements of the bones and our anthropologist took issue with his findings saying that the size of the bone concerned was within the size range of a child. Unfortunately the bones were destroyed by the pathologist without being examined by an anthropologist. Our advice was that they should have been so examined as the pathologist was not qualified to rule on whether or not they were human. The builders told us that they had found two child’s shoes with the bones. The pathologist told us that he had sent them for examination and had been told they were Victorian. The person he said he sent them to remembered no such incident. Unfortunately the shoes too had been destroyed and were unavailable to us.

Lenny was wrong when he claimed there was murder:

Messrs Gradwell and Warcup said there was no evidence of murder and that my team was wrong to say there was. They are not telling the truth, deliberately or otherwise - because I had never said there was evidence of murder - only evidence that there was something that needed investigation.

There are many, many examples of what I did, actually say, to be found still. Check the BBC News website on 31st July 2008. Read David James Smith’s excellent article in the Sunday Times. (Reproduced in Stuart Syvret’s blog on Sunday, 10th May, 2009). They all state - clearly and unequivocally - that I was saying ‘we did not have evidence of murder’.

We think we know how the bones ended up where we found them, and that was expertly laid out by Karl Harrison in his Archaeological Theory of the Burnt Debris including Human Bone Fragments and teeth found in the East wing. We included his report in the document we posted on our website. Strangely enough when the Sunday Times journalist David James Smith attempted to access this document it had been removed under Warcup’s leadership. David James Smith was told by the Press Officer that there had been a problem with the computer. Of course there was!

Gradwell inherited a mess from Lenny:

Mr. Gradwell says he inherited an ill managed mess, that there were no proper papers left behind. Here, he is in conflict with the ACPO Review team, who said, in their report, the policy books were properly kept and maintained.

Three convictions:

Which brings me to another very inconvenient fact for Mr.Gradwell, which is this:

All three convictions so far have resulted from the work done by my team’s enquiry.

He looked very proud and self-important as he stood on the steps of the court after the Wateridge conviction. It must have crossed his mind, surely, that all three convicted had already been charged and made their first court appearances before he’d even arrived in the island?

One has to wonder why the Attorney General, William Bailhache, sent instructions to me not to charge Wateridge? It is fortunate indeed that I was a rather thick cop and “misunderstood” the instructions conveyed to me by a lawyer. Otherwise it is possible the now convicted Wateridge may never have even been charged.

The Maguire’s

A few other things about that Gradwell JEP interview: He said in it, when referring to the disgraceful case where the lawyer changed ‘his mind’ after telling us to arrest the ‘lovely’ pair - who delighted in hitting children in the back of the head with cricket bats - that it was one of my own team who told the lawyers there was not enough evidence. I find this rather unlikely for a number of reasons. Firstly, my team were very angry at the late changing of the decision. They had been told by the lawyer that subject to interview this pair should be charged with serious assaults. We of course had an agreement that we would arrest no one unless we got the go ahead from the lawyers appointed by the AG. We adhered to this.

The team arrested this pair - only to have the rug snatched from under their feet. After a rather strained conversation with the AG’s lawyer, who was sitting on a platform in a railway station in the North of England with trains running in the background, I ignored his instructions and called the Centenier into the police station to charge these two. Mr. Gradwell of course would not have done this he says. In any event, the Centenier stated that although he agreed that there was ample evidence to charge, he did not want to go against the lawyer’s ‘revised’ instruction. Never mind justice or the victims!

No human remains have been found:

Of course, Mr. Gradwell didn’t just sound off to the JEP. On the BBC he asked the question why, if I had evidence or intelligence about rapes 20 or 30 years ago did I then dig for human remains? I think that question is answered clearly above. He said there were no human remains found. I beg to differ. For a start, there were approximately 70 children’s teeth. Of course, Mr.Gradwell thinks they are down to the Tooth Fairy. Forget what two experts said. But let us look at his claim that “only one human bone was found and that was from the ‘Plantagenet’ era.”

….numerous bones were examined by the UK Anthropologist Andrew Chamberlain who issued a report saying the bone examined was human juvenile, had been burnt soon after death, and buried soon after burning. He also said that the bones were no more than a few decades old. His report, strangely enough, has never been mentioned by Mr. Warcup or Mr. Gradwell.

Skull or coconut:

Diane Simon - “Harper lied about the fragment” seemed to be the gist of her recent story. I have already gone through this with her two or three times, personally, face to face, and a couple of times on e-mail.

...we received an e-mail from a Ms Brock at the Laboratory in relation to the fragment. Here are some excerpts from the e-mail.

“Hi Vicky. Here are the details of the Jersey skull as discussed on the phone earlier. As I said, the chemistry of this bone is extremely unusual – nothing I am familiar with.”

“During the first acid washes we often get a lot of fizzing as the mineral dissolves. The Jersey skull didn’t fizz at all, which suggested that preservation was poor, and which led me to test the nitrogen content of the bone.”

“The Jersey skull had 0.60 nitrogen, which suggested that it contained virtually no collagen. Once we had this result, Tom phoned you and told you it would be unlikely that we could date the sample, but that we would continue with the pre-treatment just in case.”

“Very surprisingly, the sample yielded 1.6% collagen (our cut off for dating is 1%).”

“As there is no nitrogen it cannot contain collagen unless it is highly degraded. The chances are it is highly contaminated and any date we get for it might not be accurate. I have e-mailed the director and asked if we should proceed with a date.”

It is clear from those e-mails that the lab did not know what the fragment was. Why, then, have Messrs Simon, Gradwell, and Warcup insisted that the fragment was identified as a coconut by a person qualified to do so? By the time I retired, the only person to suggest the item might be a fragment of coconut was a technician who was trying to date it. No Anthropologist has ever identified it as such. One way to clear this would be to have it further examined, and I am not aware if that has ever been done. I am told, rightly or wrongly, however, that it has been lost. If true, how convenient.

Harper is a bully:

Several journalists have told me that Mr. Gradwell and indeed his boss in Jersey, have alleged that I was a bully, and that I aroused fear among officers. I certainly hope I did arouse fear among a small minority of officers.

There was no doubt we did deal firmly with the bullies and the few corrupt members of staff. All of the allegations of bullying made against me seem to have come from those who were dealt with in this fashion. Bullies do not take kindly to being stood up to. Several of the corrupt cops that we removed from the force complained about their treatment. Without exception their complaints were found to be malicious or unsubstantiated. Several of them even tried to damage the historical abuse enquiry.

Hostility from those in power:

I already knew the hostility that existed among many politicians and other areas of the establishment. I had my first taste of this back in 2007 the day I went public with the enquiry. I was ordered to attend at the office of Frank Walker, the Chief Minister. I went there with Graham Power and found that also present with Walker, were Bill Ogley and Home Affairs Minister Wendy Kinnard.

Walker started off by telling me I was looking at a very angry Chief Minister. I asked why. The conversation then went as follows:

FW. “You have been talking to Stuart Syvret.”

LH. “Yes I have. It was necessary for me to talk to him as not only does he have evidence that I may need, but the victims trust him and he may be able to persuade them to come to us.”

FW. “But you told him that you were going public.” (Stuart had released a press statement that morning to coincide with mine – a move which I have to admit, I did not anticipate!!)

LH. “Yes, but I also told you I was going public.”

FW. “But you showed him your press statement.”

LH. “Chief Minister, I showed it to you.”

FW. “But we’re the Government.”

Bill Ogley then intervened to ask me, “You do realise this could bring down the Government?” I told him that was not my concern. My concern was getting to the truth.

There then followed an argument about my use of the word “victims” in the media release. Walker ordered me not to use it. He explained that there were no victims until someone was convicted. I told him that was not the case. When someone alleged that they were a victim of crime, they were a victim.

So, back to WHY.

WHY the lies, the spin, the interference?

WHY so much cover-up to protect people who are guilty of various crimes?

WHY has evidence been lost or admittedly destroyed?

Lenny Harper has responded to the majority of these allegations many times. Was I shocked at anything? Nope! Putting it all together and seeing it laid out in one place, at one time, is what is shocking.

One last WHY.

WHY do the coppers, The Rag, and the government continue to believe folks in Jersey and around the world will be hoodwinked by this farce? It is insulting to any thinking person!

Well done Lenny and Stuart! You both could have walked away long ago; yet you didn’t. I speak for many when I say thank you for your continued commitment, integrity, and dedication to justice!

There is so much more detail on Senator Syvert’s blog.


ritanita said...


As I have read everything about Haute de la Garenne from the get-go, it is clear to me that the word "justice" in Jersey is a veritable joke.

The powers that be in Jersey have run roughshod over those trying to find the truth of the matter. They have been able to abuse their power and make the people of Jersey cower. There is no outcry there because the people see what has happened to Lenny Harper. If the powers can be can do what they have done to him, what can they do to others who support him?

So much evil occurred at Haute de la Garenne. There are living victims who live with their memories and have the ability to name the names. They cower in their powerlessness.

Where is the media in this story? Why don't they listen and examine the case? This case is worthy of exploration and publicity. It is more than worthy.

Anonymous said...

From the most evil imaginable villains to the world's wealthy and powerful bankers, to the still mysterious disappearance of tiny vulnerable children, to courageous heros like Lenny Harper and Stuart Syvret, this story has it all. I predict it will indeed bring down the government, as well it should, and you can be proud of your role in helping expose not only the hideous child abuse but the strange role of the complicit press on that island. Kudos, Donchais.

Anonymous said...

Even if - for the sake of argument - Gradwell and Warcup meant to handle this investigation honestly, they should be sacked for the simple reason they could not even keep from losing and destroying the evidence. For them to accuse the honorable Lenny Harper of less than professional competence reeks of madness! Of course they are terribly crooked and it would be interesting to see what is in their Jersey bank accounts, now.