Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Was There Murder at Haut de la Garenne

~ Lenny Harper

Lenny Harper was criticized last week for not reporting that the piece of skull fragment found in February that led police to investigate the possibility that a child or children may have been murdered, was a piece of wood or coconut shell. Harper has said he has had reports that indicate there is still a possibility the fragment is an old piece of skull, but it has been disregarded in the investigation due to it’s age.

Now comes word that a total of 30 bone fragments and seven children’s teeth have been recovered from cellar four with the possibility that a body or bodies may have been burned in a fireplace.

According to the Telegraph, Harper said: "Some of the bones do indicate a homicide or an unexplained death. Our anthropologist has indicated certain features on one or two of the bones that we are looking at.

"We have sent the bones off to be tested and if the results show they died in the 50s or 60s or more recently we would say it is a homicide enquiry."

If the fragments predate WW11 they will not be part of the investigation.

Harper said that a tooth and twelve bone fragments had been recovered in the past 24 hours.

Tests on eleven bone fragments sent to the UK for examination, do confirm they are human and included a piece of a child’s tibia.

Many of the bones were found buried in ash, near an old fireplace, suggesting possible cremation.

Harper said, "The fact that the remains were found in ash suggests they have not been brought here from elsewhere, for example in builder's rubble."

Of the milk teeth found, all but one still had roots attached. That indicates they did not fall out naturally and the lack of decay shows no reason they would have been extracted.

"Cellar 4 and cellar 3 were until recently were all one room and because we haven't started sieving material from cellar 3 more fragments may turn up from there."

Harper stressed that as of yet, he has no evidence that anyone was murdered.

The suspect list has risen from 40 to 70 and Harper believes they will be arrested as part of the investigation.

Additionally, police have taken the Mail on Sunday to task for their report on the skull fragment being a piece of wood or coconut shell. According to Community Care: Jersey police put out a statement confirming that in March forensic staff said the fragment could "possibly be wood or a seed", but this was not definitive.

"This was qualified by the statement that if it was bone it was very old bone, again corroborating information available to the team," police said.

Laboratory staff said although the fragment was not bone in their view, police would need to conduct further examination to conclude this definitively.

The police statement said: "While the item has now been examined by three specialists, it has been ruled out of the enquiry because of the archeological context in which it had been found and it is not intended to proceed further with this exhibit."

Police called the Mail on Sunday article "a selective and one-sided attack" that ignored information given to the reporter by investigating officers and specialists.