THE human remains found at Haut de la Garenne in May could date from any time between 1650 and 1960, staff at a UK laboratory have revealed.
Deputy police chief Lenny Harper said today that although the remains of at least five children, many of which had been burned, had been found on the site, it had not been possible for specialists to date the remains conclusively.
If precise dating is not possible, there is unlikely to be a murder inquiry, Mr Harper added. His comments followed media confusion this morning after reports on BBC Radio 4 gave the impression that police were still searching the former children’s home and had discovered five further children’s bodies.
This forced Mr Harper to issue a press statement before 8 o’clock this morning denying many of the claims being made in the national broadcast media. He is also holding a press conference this afternoon to clear up any confusion.
Speaking the week before he retires from his post, Mr Harper said that he had never denied the possibility that the bone fragments could date from long before the extent of the major inquiry into child abuse at the home. ‘We have been given a wide span of dating stretching back to 1650 and as recent as several decades ago,’ he said.
What they were certain, of, he added, was that those fragments, some of which were burned, were put in the place in which they were discovered no earlier than the late 1960s or 1970s and had been moved around from one site within the building to another.
He said that because the evidence was so inconclusive, it was unlikely that there would be enough evidence to undertake a homicide inquiry into these findings.
However, during the search they had found a number of items, including the shackles which corroborated allegations of child abuse from victims and witnesses.
Mr Harper said that the 65 children’s teeth found in the last few months had been confirmed as having come from five children aged between four and 11. They also found a tibia bone and a small bone from behind an ear.
Asked this morning in a Radio 4 interview if he was disappointed that, having found the remains of five children, he had been unable before his retirement to instigate a murder inquiry, Mr Harper said that he was disappointed, but he had the consolation that they had done all they could to take this case forward, and he had the benefit of a superb team who had found between 100 and 150 tiny bone fragments in a vast amount of debris.