Monthly Archives: February 2011



[First published on the 26th February 2011, this is a rare posting in that I tried to describe in it, when I wrote it in 2008, the real – the human – interaction of combatting child-abuse.]

As I’m having to work pretty much constantly on my legal defence against the Jersey oligarchy – I don’t have time to write new blog-entries at present.

However, today I was thinking – with sadness – of some of the survivors I know, and I was reminded of the personal article I reproduce below.

I wrote this quite some time ago – late 2008 perhaps? I suppose it’s a kind of essay, or memoire of some of those experiences, but I never did get around to publishing it.

Sometimes I think in all of the political and legal warfare – some people lose sight of the real lives – real suffering – real people.



By Stuart Syvret.

The telephone rang again, as it did, many times, most evenings. And circumstances dictated that, no matter how exhausted I was, and in need of some rest, I had to take the call. The answer-phone just wouldn’t do.

This was the latter half of 2007, when the tangled and confusing controversy of the child protection failures in Jersey had erupted as a local political issue in the island, but had not yet had any significant coverage in the national media. I had been the Minister for Health & Social Services, but to my horror, had begun to uncover, from around January 2007, some shocking and systemic failures in child protection.

My own investigations, along with the input of whistleblowers, witnesses and victims drew things to my attention – things which had been pro-actively hidden from me and my political predecessors by senior management over the decades.

To cut a long story short, I made the fatal ‘mistake’ – for a politician – of giving an honest answer to a question I was asked in the island’s parliament. I told the truth, and said I had no confidence in Jersey’s child protection systems. Expressing my concerns publicly in this way led directly to me becoming the victim of a political ‘putsch’, and was sacked as Health & Social Services Minister – on the supposed grounds that by criticising the service, I was, “undermining staff morale”.

However, my removal from the post, though intended to shut me up and prevent the controversy from being fully exposed, actually had the opposite effect. Suddenly, people who had been silent, sometimes for decades about what they’d suffered, looked at my battles, as reported in the Jersey media, and thought, “at last, here is someone in authority who will believe me.”

So here I was, sat alone at my desk, late into the night, trying to combine my usual role of political street-fighter, with what had to be a delicate and gentle willingness to listen to often very fragile people.

What you are about to read is an account of one such deeply moving – and troubling – personal contact, from a man I only know as “Paul”.

He called from a pay-as-you-go mobile, and in a hesitant and obviously disguised voice, made some sketchy references to a “friend”, who wanted to meet with me; this “friend” had some information which would help me in the child protection battles.

Jersey is naturally a very conservative environment; people prefer traditional approaches, and don’t like to “wash the dirty linen in public”. This atmosphere often makes people frightened to speak-out – or, in particular, for it to become known they’ve been in touch with me.

I am a joiner and cabinet maker by trade, and was elected to the island’s parliament – “the States” – in 1990 at the age of 25, but, by now, after nearly 20 years service, I had, bizarrely enough, become the ‘Father of the House’ as the longest serving Senator.

But during that 19 year period I had consistently been a thorn in the flesh of the island’s ‘establishment’. So whilst people trusted me, and often came to me with a lot of important information, they often had to do so in secrecy – through fear that being seen to be in contact with me could have a negative impact on their career prospects.

But in the context of the child abuse issues – some people, especially survivors, had far more personal reasons for insisting on immense secrecy – people like “Paul” – as I will explain.

When I sat down to write this article, it was going to deal with what are, the perhaps inescapable, weaknesses of checks and balances in a small, self-governing community. Perhaps I’ll still commit such thoughts to paper, but as I tried to focus on those issues, again and again my mind returned to the direct human encounters which lay concealed beneath the political fist-fights and media storms which have dominated the controversy.

Jersey is a tiny island – a population of 100,000 – where people tend to know each others’ business more closely than in a UK town.

Having been a prominent local politician, I’m fairly well recognised in this goldfish-bowl, so people who wish to make contact with me discreetly often go to extraordinary lengths.

Which is why “Paul” – posing as a ‘friend of a friend of a friend’ – called me; though only later was I to recognise the communications had been from him all along; no other person being involved.

“Paul” wanted to meet me; meet me in ultra-secrecy. And to be honest, there was nothing that unusual in this, given the context of the Jersey child abuse controversy.

So another late-night assignation was arranged to add to the several similar meetings I’d had already.

Towards the end of another solitary night in – having telephone conversations with constituents, drinking, and composing insolent e-mails on their behalf to various intransigent bureaucrats, I turned off the light and left my flat. With an anorak over my head in an attempt to disguise myself, I walked, faced bowed, across town, down Garden Lane accompanied by the increasing drizzle as it cleansed the air of cooking-smells from the closing takeaways. About 2.00 am – yet the rain had reduced the expected amount of mutually lurching drunkards and occasional packs of near-feral children. Only the truly desperate and the lost were passed – as they veered back to rancid bed-sits via a strange percussive navigational combination of alcohol and immovable items of street furniture.

I reached the end of Garden Lane and turned left briefly across Val Plaisant and entering Vauxhall Street I slowed, looking for the agreed set-back doorway of rendezvous. He had asked what I would be wearing – to reassure him I would look just like any other person one might encounter – in the pouring rain – at 2.00 am – on a bleak autumn Monday morning; green anorak, tatty jeans, grubby training shoes. By now the rain was torrential, brief fragments of captured street-light battering from pavements, windowsills and cars – rivers of this stolen light coursing along the gutters to vanish down drains.

I approached the recess, making sure my footfall was audible so as not to surprise him – if he was there. I stopped upon the pavement, deliberately visible from the alcove, still looking straight ahead to the lights of David Place, “Paul?” I spoke to the night.


I turned to look, and stepped in. I offered a hand which he took and squeezed strongly, though trembling a little. We each stood, backs to a wall, opposite each other – about two-and-a-half feet between our faces.

“Well, hi, I’m Stuart, and thanks very much for making contact with me.” I said, pulling back the hood and shaking rain from my clothing. “You know how difficult it is to fight these things, the establishment are out to cover it all up; people who know things are very frightened, so I understand your need for secrecy, so don’t worry about having to meet in this way. Every little piece of information I can gather helps the cause.”

“Yeah. Paul”, he said, lighting a fag, “I’ve never done this kind of thing before. Drink?” he said, taking a half-bottle of vodka from an inside jacket pocket. I took the bottle from him and rifled a quantity down my throat to join the red wine already present, handed it back and said. “So, what are the issues you want me to know about?”

When having these many encounters, I often didn’t know for sure what to expect. Some of the people were whistle-blowers, some witnesses, some survivors – or relatives of survivors. Sometimes the information they imparted would be a few fragments of things seen or heard, sufficiently concerning to have become fixed in people’s memories – to detailed knowledge of cover-ups – to actual experiences of being abused.

So I didn’t really know what to expect from “Paul”, but given the secrecy he insisted upon, I had speculated he was one of the whistle-blowing States employees – terrified for his career prospects if it ever became know he’d been in touch with me.

This, in essence, is how his story, the conversation – and events – went.

Both his parents were alcoholics; both violent. One had died when he was a small child, and the other had become more derelict and violent as the drinking consumed them.

Eventually, he was taken from the surviving parent and placed in one of Jersey’s notorious children’s homes. And so sad, lonely and empty had his life been, in his innocence, he was actually happy to be going to live in a lively place with lots of other children. The surviving parent died shortly afterwards – leaving him with not a soul in the world.

And within days of the commencement of this state of complete isolation and vulnerability – it began.

For three years – between the ages of seven and ten – he was routinely sodomised by two States of Jersey employees and a third man, one of their friends.

Though I had heard similar experiences, slowly and tentatively emerge from other survivors, I was taken aback at the sheer brutal immediacy of his explanation. I knew instantly that what he was saying was correct – as one of the two public employee abusers he named was already known to me – through attacks on other children which I had heard painfully recounted by other survivors, now adults.

I think he imagined he’d just tell me briefly, in a manly way, the straight facts of what happened to him, so I could add that knowledge to our campaign. And whilst he did state the bald facts in a brief and startling manner, I think doing so broke some kind of dam within him.

In the shadowed light I could just see his jaw-muscles working in his face and some blinked tears descend. “Jesus Christ”, I whispered, and reached out with both hands and took hold of his wrists. He pulled one hand free to draw heavily on his cigarette, but gripped my arm strongly with the other.

“Have you spoken to anyone about this, like a councillor or the police”, I asked?


“Look, I know it’s difficult, but if you feel at all able to do it, you’d find it a help to speak to someone professional about this, I’m just a politician.”

“No, I can’t”

For a few seconds I grew a little insensitive, “Look, do you want to bring the guilty to justice? Do you want to contribute to helping protect children in the future? You should speak to the police, even if you don’t want to make a complaint yourself, your information will still really help them.”

He was trembling now, and took another swig of vodka and offered the bottle across.

“I’m married”, he said. “Well, that’s great, you’ve got on and made a success of your life”, I said, smiling now.

“I don’t usually drink much. We’re very happy, we have a wonderful little girl”, he said, the tears flowing faster now.

“That’s fantastic; look, sorry if I seemed pushy. You don’t have to speak to the cops about it; your life is stable, it’s fair enough you should put your family first, you have the support of your wife.”

“She doesn’t know”, he said.

“Oh”, I said, “I see”, looking into his eyes and holding his arms again.

“She doesn’t know”, he choked again through clenched teeth as a tidal flood of tears burst down his face.

I held him as he wept into my shoulder, tears running from my own eyes.

Releasing and taking deep breaths, he looked at me and pre-empted my question;

“No. I will never tell her. I’ve never told anyone, you’re the only person. I’ll never tell her. She’d see me differently; it would change her attitude towards me; I’m terrified she’d take our little girl away.”

Gripping my left wrist with the force of a car-jack and looking into me with eyes like laser-beams he said, “I’m frightened of being alone again! Please understand, I can’t let them do that to me!”

I put my right hand on his shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, you’re strong, everything is going to be OK.”

Beginning to compose himself, he looked at me and said, “I just wanted somebody in authority to know.” I nodded and said, “You’ve done the right thing. This has clearly been very hard for you. But you’ve helped to expose the truth.”

“Look – as long as you don’t actually identify me – you can add my experiences to the campaign. I won’t – I can’t – go to the police. But I do want to help protect other kids.”

Words had pretty much become superfluous by this stage, and we communicated through expressions, but I nodded, and said, “OK. Look, thanks. I’m really grateful for this meeting. I think I understand what it took to do this.”

After a few moments we composed ourselves, wiping our eyes dry with the backs of our hands, and passing the bottle across. Though I had recently been responsible for getting the island’s parliament to ban smoking in enclosed work-places, and hadn’t smoked myself for many years, I gratefully took a cigarette from him as we shook hands looking at each other one last time – then turning to go our separate ways through a night silent save for the slamming rain.

I looked back, once, and saw dark windows and pools of rain reflecting his passing and I was struck again, by the thought that when I had these meetings with people like “Paul”, what I was seeking – and finding – were ghosts.

Shades and spectres – the vaporous trails of long-departed children – still haunting the outer shells of people I met. Sometimes you catch a glimpse of these ghost-children – in eye – or word – or gesture – and you want to reach out to them – but these burnt and vanished phantoms disappear into the scars, the tattoos, the needle marks, the self-harm lacerations, the haunted faces and the wrecked lives.

Once safely into the comparative anonymity of Garden Lane, I threw back the hood and stared up into the downpour whilst cupping the cigarette protectively in my hand and began to stagger back to my flat – unable to do anything except shake my head every ten paces or so.

Jersey is a small place – where chance encounters with people are common. One day, months later – when walking down King Street, I caught a distant glimpse of him, with his wife, their happy, smiling child swinging, hand-in-hand between them. I quickly turned to look in the window of a camera shop – just not knowing what the dynamics might be if our eyes locked.

Here was a man who had not allowed it to destroy him. So many others who went through similar experiences had been rendered alcoholic, drug-addicted, mentally ill, and alone – ultimately embraced by suicide in many cases. But he – through some superhuman strength – had subdued the monstrous suffering, chained it down, and permanently consigned it to some small dungeon in his mind.

There the experiences stay – whilst he gets on with his successful and happy life.

But oh – at what a cost?

That bleak rainy night – crying into the shoulder of a strange man – in a doorway in a back-street – revealing through a river of tears that which he could never tell his loving wife.

“Paul” certainly achieved his avowed objective – of helping the cause, when he arranged to meet me. But a part of me likes to think something further came of that encounter; that he achieved some kind of catharsis – and is free of his past.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for many of the others. The survivors and their supporters had one year of optimism – thanks largely to the unstinting and courageous efforts of Lenny Harper – a tough, straight, no-nonsense cop who was unafraid of the island’s establishment, and would have no truck with “The Jersey Way” – the ingrained culture of mutual protection and cover-ups engaged in by the well-placed. But Lenny retired – and inevitably, new officers were recruited who would be far more amenable to the wishes of the Jersey establishment. The richly resourced Jersey spin-apparatus went into over-drive to try and trash Mr. Harper and his work. And not content even with that, a brazenly unlawful suspension was enacted against Mr. Harper’s boss, the good, supportive Police Chief Graham Power.

As I had long predicted – the island authorities failed to prosecute most of the accused. 2008 began with four notorious abusers escaping prosecution; and later that year it was announced another eleven abusers would not face prosecution – as far as I’m aware, one of those eleven being one of the men who abused “Paul”.

Two-and-a-half years of dedicated police work – over a hundred complainants – over forty credible suspects – and so far only a handful of insignificant – and not ‘well-connected’ – individuals charged and convicted.

And not so much as one of the many people who criminally concealed child abuse – the people who failed to protect people like “Paul” – have been charged.

With dozens of alleged abusers not even facing trial – and likewise, those who knew, but who protected the abusers, facing no sanction – many survivors feel betrayed – violated all over again – at yet another episode of self-protecting moral bankruptcy by the Jersey authorities.

When I look at Jersey’s politicians – the sneering, ignorant, weak, inadequate, half-witted barbarians – I think of men like “Paul” – and of so many other people like him.

I think of all the meetings I’ve had with survivors – some of which would, quite literally, end with them crying on my shoulder.

Several such harrowing encounters – including the meeting with “Paul” – were fresh – so very fresh – in my mind in December 2007 – as I stood at my desk in the States chamber – having been shouted-down and had my microphone cut, for attempting to make a speech that expressed some recognition and empathy to the survivors.

As I had staggered back to my flat in the early hours of a rain-lashed Monday morning – after the meeting with “Paul” – and learning what he had suffered – I didn’t think it was possible to have to carry a more frighteningly bleak realisation of just how disgusting some people can be.

But the States of Jersey had given me a lesson; having refused to hear the speech, my “colleagues” were now sitting-down appreciatively to a free Christmas lunch in the Old Library.

And I was staggering back to the same flat I had returned to after meeting “Paul” – now knowing that there is no limit to the darkness.



Speaking Truth to Power

Having to spend so much time battling the Jersey oligarchy’s army of million pound lawyers has left me precious little time to write new articles. Instead – a detailed legal case has been gradually coming together beneath the battered keys of the lap-top. At present it’s 110 pages (not including evidential documents, affidavits and cited cases) – but I’m reasonably confident it’s going to make quite an exciting read for all that.

A small part of the research has involved the occasional trawl through the back-pages of this blog, and if I say so myself, many of the articles remain fresh and relevant.

I had cause to re-read the old article I reproduce below – and I found it so accurate it amuses me to re-produce it. Called “How Jersey Works” – it was written in response to a letter published in The Rag – and it remains a very useful guide to the true nature of power in Jersey – the last single-party state in Europe.

And the issues I address in the article – and the “culture” I describe – are not unrelated to the police-state oppression I’m attempting to resist.

So, although written some time ago, in response to a specific example of Jersey oligarchy log-rolling, it remains a depressingly accurate description and dissection of “The Jersey Way”.

In the mean-time – put Monday 14th March in your diaries; that’s when the court case starts.


Saturday, 29 March 2008
Decades of the Most Foul Child Abuse;

Nearly all of it hidden;

How did it Happen?

“The Jersey Way”:

“Measured”, “Respectable” and “civilised”.

I hope many of my readers will have been able to see the Inside Out programme which was broadcast by regional BBC television last night. It will be on their web site for a week or so I guess.

Could I also recommend that you try to see BBC Panorama, which will be broadcast this coming Monday. It focuses entirely upon the Jersey child abuse disaster.

If you have been following this crisis in the national or international media – you will be deeply puzzled as to how such monstrous abuse could have been concealed for so long? Why did every ‘check and balance’ in Jersey fail to protect these children?

Why did those in “authority” in Jersey permit this to happen?

To discover the answer to that question, check out a letter published in today’s Jersey Evening Post, Saturday 29th March.

I would post the web address – but The Rag, being so archaic, the letter isn’t on their web site yet.

The letter in question is written by one Philip ‘Pip’ Le Brocq. I do suggest you acquire a copy as it serves as yet further evidence of how intrinsically decadent, stupid and hypocritical the Jersey oligarchy is.

The letter is titled “Senator’s words discredit the island he claims to love.”

It is another assault upon me for speaking the truth – a commodity in profoundly short supply amongst the Jersey establishment – indeed, something they appear to have a nasty allergy to.

I suppose I should be grateful for Pip’s letter – it illustrates so perfectly the very points I make in trying to expose the debased and ignorant self-interest that grips Jersey’s elites like a cancer.

And there is, I should add, an additional advantage in that whilst he’s writing this cretinous and ethically bankrupt nonsense, he doesn’t have time to write the truly appalling ‘sonnets’ he is want to churn out – labouring under the delusion he is some kind of ‘poet’.

As many of the greats have said – the first requirement to write good poetry is a grasp of the truth – not something we see on display in Pip’s letter.

Just how dishonest and stupid is his missive?

Well, let’s have a quick stroll through its nether regions in our quest to understand the monstrous failings and abuses of power in Jersey.

The letter is an attempt to defend the Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache – chief judge – and Speaker of the island’s parliament.

Phil gave a political interview to The Rag a while back – which I wrote about in my post “A Last Desperate Throw of the Dice.”

Pip portrays Phil as some kind of towering beacon of wisdom and leadership – a mighty figure we ignorant and frightened proles can cling to in this time of storms.

Well – let us recap the actual – evidenced – “performance” of Phil Bailhache.

This is a man who was Chair of the Victoria College Board of Governors for much of the 1990s – when complaints of child abuse were being made. Complaints which were not reported to the police.

The same Sir Phil Bailhache, who – when I was facing a dismissal debate in the Jersey parliament for having honestly answered a question about child protection failures – prevented my official comments and supporting evidence from being published.

The self-same supposed judicial expert – who was content to allow the political ‘trial’ of me take place – with only the case for the ‘prosecution’ being published.

The same Phil Bailhache who failed to declare a ‘conflict of interest’ given that some of the evidence he was oppressing related directly to the child abuse at Victoria College – when he was Chairman of the Board of Governors.

The self-same Phil who condemns the international media coverage as “scurrilous” – it apparently not occurring to him that the UK media have reported – entirely accurately – such things as his anti-democratic and foul actions in preventing me giving a speech which was the first ever expression of recognition and empathy for the abuse survivors by a member of the States.

The same man who – by frightened and rabid dictat – recently had me thrown out of a members’ room in the island’s parliament building whilst I was in the middle of an interview with a French TV crew.

As I said in my other post – essentially an inadequate, ignorant and foolish little man.

A person utterly out of his depth and possessed of the “wisdom” of a Moss Side alcoholic.

But – I titled this post “How Jersey Works”.

I wanted to explain to you the breathtaking incompetence, decadence, self-interest, greed, megalomania, mutual protection and startling invulnerability of the Jersey oligarchy.

By understanding “How Jersey Works”, we gain some insight into how this island can have had within its midst’s – and under the very noses of its authorities – generations of the most foul concealed child abuse. Because, let’s face it, concealing generations of systemic and appalling child abuse is so clearly the “civilised”, “dignified”, “measured” and “statesman” like thing to do.

So – How Jersey Works:

You see – what Philip Le Brocq neglects to mention in his epistle is that he once was a teacher at Victoria College.

He somehow also forgot to mention that he is a personal friend of Phil Bailhache.

And – very forgetfully – he fails to inform readers that he is the husband of one Sally Le Brocq – formerly Sally Harrison – multi-millionaire scion of the family which owned the Guiton Group – parent company of Jersey’s only “newspaper” the Jersey Evening Post.

Remember the Guiton Group? Its boss and chair of the board was one Frank Harrison Walker – now Jersey’s Chief Minister. A man who attaches greater importance to defending senior civil servants than he does to child protection.

Pip also neglects to mention another fascinating example of How Jersey Works. He fails to tell us that his multi-millionaire wife, Sally Le Brocq, is one of the 12 ‘Jurats’ – lay-judges – of Jersey’s Royal Court.

Now – regular readers of this blog will remember – even if Pip doesn’t – the name of another of the 12 ‘Jurats’.

That being one ‘Jurat John Le Breton’ – the man who had to resign in disgrace as Vice-Principle of Victoria College for having failed to inform the Police Force of complaints of child abuse – and who even went so far as to attempt, with the Principle, Jack Hydes, to intimidate and humiliate two of the victims in to withdrawing their complaints.

So – there we have a quick lesson in How Jersey Works.

How its entrenched, nepotistic and incestuous power-claque ruthlessly work together at the merest hint of a threat to their lucrative grip on power in the island.

Pip moves towards a close by bemoaning the fact that I am returning to my “immature” days of an enfant terrible – rather than being “admirable” in “gaining the wisdom and dignity of an elder statesman.”

These fascinating assertions require a few questions.

And I really need answers to these questions, Pip, as – obviously – I am clearly so out of step with the “reasonable and polite” conduct of Jersey’s traditional establishment.

Admittedly, about 95% of the rest of the planet seem to share my views – but, of course, it is simply axiomatic that the Jersey Establishment is Never Wrong.

So most of the world, most of my readers, and I have clearly become profoundly confused; we’ve lost our way, Pip. And we need your guidance to regain touch with the truth.

So, tell me, Pip, I take it that your definition of “dignified” includes the terribly, terribly “respectable” “elder statesmen” who raped orphans in Haute de la Garrene?

Would that be the kind of “wisdom” and “dignity” displayed by “elder statesmen” who have repeatedly attached greater importance to the “image” of their oligarchy and the size of their bank accounts than they have to the battery and torture of vulnerable children?

Pip, would the “civilised and measured” behaviour of which you speak include the peddling of lies and oppressions against those trying to protect vulnerable children?

Do you, Pip, include in your definition of “civilised and respectable” behaviour, the unlawful preventing of the publication of evidence which demonstrated the truth of the Jersey child abuse disaster?

Pip, do you consider it “statesman” like to assault democracy and justice in this way, as your friend Phil did – whilst failing to declare a ‘conflict of interests’ – namely him being Chairman of the Board of Governors of Victoria College when that institution was concealing child abuse?

Do you mean the “civilised and measured” behaviour exhibited by Phil when unlawfully stopping me from making a speech in the island’s parliament in which I was attempting to express some empathy and compassion for the Jersey abuse victims?

Well, actually Pip, you needn’t bother replying – your answers to these questions must surely be “yes”. Why else would you have written such cretinous and despicable rubbish?

And, even though your answer is “yes” – well, I’m sorry – but I’m just going to have to carry on being – and choose your appellation according to your tastes – “reprobate scum”, “a communist”, a “McCarthyite”, an “anarchist” or – famously – someone who is “trying to shaft Jersey internationally.”

I’ve been called all these things – and worse – in the course of the last 12 months.

My “offence”? Trying to root out and stop the abuses of power that enabled child rape and battery to remain concealed for generations.

So – in fact, being opposed so totally and rabidly by people like you, Pip, your mate Phil and the rest of your Jersey oligarchy friends, actually makes me feel pretty good.

For if I was regarded by people like you and the rest of the Jersey crypto-fascist feudalists as “one of us” and a “respectable elder statesman” – I would develop a compulsive disorder which would require me to go and shower every 30 minutes in an effort to cleanse myself of the sensations of filth and rot.

Pip concludes his missive by likening me to the protagonist of ‘A Picture of Dorian Gray’ – destroying myself through self-delusion.

Let me invite readers of this blog to decide for themselves.

Given what we know about the child abuse disaster in Jersey, who, do you imagine, has been unceasing in their efforts over the years to maintain and project a healthy and desirable “image” to the world – whilst the decay, rot, festering canker and corruption boiled out of the picture hidden away in the attic?

Me – or Philip Le Brocq’s beloved Jersey establishment?

The answer is self-evident – so – as I said in a previous comment – give me honesty over “politeness” every single time.

Stuart Syvret.


Lenny Harper’s Guest Posting – Re-Visited.

Under the last posting, I invited readers to suggest various articles, such as guest-postings – or old blog-entries – they’d be interested in seeing re-posted here. I’ve had a number of suggestions I’ll be considering during the coming days. However, several people have asked me to re-post the guest article Lenny Harper wrote for this blog, back on the 5th September 2009.

One of the things that’s very, very clear about citizen media in the Channel Islands is that we bloggers have become the media of record. In coming decades – when historians get around to writing  the true modern history of Jersey, it will be to the blog-sites they look for the full, detailed, evidenced facts – by way of contrast to the lame, inadequate rubbish produced by the Jersey Evening Post, BBC Jersey and Channel Television.

So much hard, documented evidence – so much primary-source material – has been published on this blog – and VFC – and by Rico Sorda – that it isn’t difficult to understand why the Jersey oligarchs decided they had to try and crush blogging in the island.

The blog-entry I reproduce below is a powerful example of primary-source material.

Written by Lenny Harper, former Deputy Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police Force – a man who generated fear and hatred on the part of the Jersey oligarchy – it is a powerful and frank record of those days; a record of the struggle he and Graham Power waged against ingrained corruption.

Written after he had retired, but when he was being subjected to a campaign of propaganda by the Chief Minister’s department and spin-doctors – Lenny describes the “culture” he was fighting against – and some of the hard, documented evidence concerning the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster.

I recommend readers to visit the current posting on VFC, here:

And Rico Sorda’s posting, here:

Both of those articles make fascinating reading – and juxtapose quite strikingly with what Lenny wrote, re-enforcing – over a year later – his evidenced conclusion concerning just how toxic the Jersey establishment are.

Additionally – another fundamentally crucial read is the recent interview that VFC conducted with Graham Power. It can be found here:

This posting, and the three I refer readers to above, amount to a damning, and frankly frightening indictment of public authority in Jersey. But at least as disturbingly – no thinking person could read the materials published in the four postings – and then fail to realise just how inadequate and corrupted Jersey’s traditional media is.

For here on these blogs, you may read fundamental, direct, experiences – of the key figures involved; dramatic, first-hand accounts of what can only be described as a breakdown in governance in Jersey; key witnesses, who’s testimony is backed-up with documented evidence. Witnesses of the highest calibre.

And why have none of Jersey’s traditional media produced this reportage?

Why has it fallen to a few grass-roots bloggers to do this fundamentally important work?

Why only lies from Jersey’s only “newspaper”?

Why just spin and propaganda from Channel Television?

Why the deafening silence from the BBC in Jersey?

Read the posting re-produced below – and the other three blog-entries mentioned above – then think about those questions.

Read the facts – the evidence – and think.


Saturday, 5 September 2009


Some “Inconvenient” Conclusions:

Attorney General William Bailhache
Tried to Stop Wateridge Being Charged.

Documentary Evidence Proves Dig at HDLG
Was Justified.

Evidence of Mr. Harper’s Professionalism and Integrity
Destroys Jersey Establishment Smear-Campaign.

Police Had Intelligence of Forced, Illegal Abortions
And a Still-born Baby at HDLG.

Anthropologist’s Records Showed Many
Suspected Human Bone Fragments.

Police Had Intelligence of Children
‘Not Being Seen Again’.

Expert’s Theory That Solid Fuel Furnace in the West Wing
Was Used to Dispose of Human Remains.

Possibility of Unexplained Child Deaths
Still Unresolved.

ACPO Reports Endorsed Investigation.

The Successful Prosecutions
All Work of Mr. Harper’s Team.

Many Serious Suspects Still at Large.

Gradwell and Warcup Fail
To Bring them to Justice.

Political Pressure and Interference
By Jersey Establishment.

Gradwell and Warcup Press-Conference

Spin, Lies and Smear-Campaign by Jersey Establishment
Proves Existence of Culture of Concealment.

To some readers – those, for example, who rely on Jersey’s traditional media for their information – the conclusions listed above will be shocking, and will be at variance with many of the assertions of, and all the ‘impressions’ conveyed by, the Jersey authorities during much of the last 12 months.

To those of us who have had to take a detailed interest in the awful subject of decades of concealed child abuse in Jersey, many of the conclusions written above will come as no surprise – on the basis of personal experiences, documentary information – and a weary understanding of the true nature of the Jersey oligarchy. One way or another – the truth has been known to us.

But regardless of whether you knew the truth – or whether the Jersey establishment’s propaganda had misled you – you should read this posting. Below is a detailed, evidenced response – written by Lenny Harper – in which the necessity, professionalism and integrity of the States of Jersey Police Force investigation into decades of concealed child abuse is robustly established and defended.

I would like to thank Lenny for taking the time to write this guest posting, and remaining committed to justice and integrity. As a retired man, with a family to care for, he could have washed his hands of these issues and simply walked away. Fortunately for the survivors and this community, he continues to be a fighter for justice; a man who’s instinct is to protect the weak from the powerful.


Lenny Harper’s Guest Posting:

I have been away from Scotland for the past two weeks and have therefore missed the intellectually challenged journalistic nonsense from Diane Simon of the JEP, including the interview with Supercop Mick Gradwell. My thanks to those who have updated me.

I began counting the inaccuracies and downright falsehoods but gave up there were so many of them. Mick Gradwell said in a letter a few months back to a Daily Mail journalist that “the best I can say about Mr. Harper is that he is a man who has difficulty in understanding basic facts”. But it seems to me that he and Diane Simon cannot recognise facts even when they are laid out in front of them several times. I will return to Mr. Gradwell later when I yet again make clear how ludicrous and dishonest some of the assertions made by various people are, including his rather nasty and juvenile attack on some senior staff of the States of Jersey Police (SOJP). First however, and I am sure all the readers of this blog will understand, I need to defend myself against some of the personal attacks made on me by Messrs Gradwell, Warcup, Simon – and a few others who have reasons to see the Abuse enquiry fold.

When the e-mail from Ms. Simon slithered under my virus defence my initial instinct was to delete it and ignore it. There were a number of reasons for this. Firstly, she had asked me all these questions on at least two previous occasions, one of them a sunny Saturday at Haut de la Garenne. On each occasion I had not only answered the questions, but I had also e-mailed the answers to her, such was my mistrust of the way the answers would be used. Presumably, she still had those e-mails. My mistrust was well founded as her questions, although not my answers, were to provide the basis of an article attacking me which was posted in a national paper by one of a group of journalists who mentioned her, and who had previously produced books and articles in support of perverts such as the North Wales Care Abusers and Frank Beck, the Leicestershire Child Rapist. Indeed, some of these journalists had even given evidence to Parliamentary Committees in which they said that the above abusers were victims of miscarriages of justice and the “False Recall Syndrome” of victims, or indeed, just made up allegations. Therefore, on this occasion I had no doubt as to what her motives were and this was confirmed when I was told the first story had appeared even before she received my reply. Her plea in the e-mail for me to answer the questions so that she could “tell all sides of the story” was as sincere and believable as the “Trusssst in me” uttered by Kaa the snake in Disney’s version of the Jungle Book. Ms. Simon must be the only person she knows who believes that this type of ingratiating fawning is not totally transparent.

Notwithstanding my absolute belief that the seeking of my views was a total sham, I realised that it would be better not to give her the opportunity to claim that she had sought my views and I had refused. I therefore answered all her questions which meant of course that she just had to ignore most of what I said. To ensure that I did get my point across to the majority on the island who actually wanted the truth, I copied my response to Stuart Syvret and he posted it on his blog.

Ms. Simon and officers Warcup and Gradwell seem to be saying that I became a really bad cop “overnight.” (I will explain why I say ‘overnight’ below.) Ms. Simon is a journalist of course and is at a disadvantage, but her view of me as a cop seems to be only slightly better than my view of her as a journalist. Each is entitled to their opinion, even if it is from a distance. However, the claims from Mr. Warcup and Mr. Gradwell need closer examination and perhaps a more detailed dismantling.

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; whether he spent his career at the sharp end as I did, or whether all his years with Northumbria Police were spent in departments like Personnel. What I do know is that the only reference I can find on the internet to him relate to allegations (perhaps unfounded) that he hid the true extent of crime from the public through the use of spin, and some other comments of a personal nature criticising him for something which frankly is no one’s business but his own.

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 judgement.

As for Mr. Gradwell, again I do not know a lot about him. He is fond of telling people, including one of the journalists I mentioned above, that he is known for investigating the tragic incident when foreign workers drowned on a beach. I believe that manslaughter convictions resulted for some of the people connected with the employment of these unfortunate victims. This must have been a very challenging enquiry for him. I am pretty sure also that he must have investigated some more conventional manslaughters and murders – where the suspects were not known. I cannot speak for him, only myself. I know that I have a number of commendations for “detective ability,” leadership, and other professional skills earned in the investigation of many murders including terrorist murders, gang murders, stabbing murders with multi victims, domestic murders, and huge experience gained in South London in the investigation of Rapes and Child Abuse.

I hope this does not seem like some sort of Lenny Harper ego trip, but when people like Mr. Gradwell, Mr. Warcup, and Ms. Simon, criticise my ability, I cannot help but refer to others who have expressed a contrary view. Over the past few years I have worked with and for some of the most respected senior police officers in the UK. Others who I have never worked for have come and independently examined what I have done in Jersey. What they say is in marked contrast to the three above, and what they say illustrates what I mean by saying that I must have become a disaster ‘overnight’. Forgive me for running through some of these professional assessments, but it will show the operational calibre of people with very different views to those which have appeared in the JEP of late and in the public utterings of Mr. Gradwell and Mr. Warcup.

Her Majesty Inspector of Constabulary came to review the SOJP in 2002, two years after Graham Power had taken over and some months following John Pearson and I arriving. They noted huge improvements from the Inspection Report prior to Mr. Power’s arrival and spoke in complimentary terms about the Senior Management Team, its leadership style, and how the force supported the changes made.

A different Inspection team carried out another examination of the force in 2008. It made the following comments under the heading of ‘Strengths’.

“The current Senior Management Team has continued to make improvements in performance, resources, management and capability.”

“The force has an effective Professional Standards Department which is effectively led by the DCO (who) drives the need for integrity across the force.”

Under the category of ‘Leadership’, the HMI wrote; “The Chief Officer Group is forward thinking, proactive in terms of the development of the force, and accessible to staff. They seek and utilise good practice from UK forces in ways that are applicable to the operational context of Jersey.” The Report team went on to say that they were “impressed with the receptiveness, drive, and commitment of the Chief Officer Team to make Organisational changes in line with areas of improvement.” They also said “The Chief Officer Team promotes a culture of empowerment, innovation, and learning through various means.”

Finally HMI, in summing up said “there is strong evidence to indicate that the SOJP is perceived as modern, fast moving with high expectations of operational and cultural change amongst a motivated workforce.”

As I stated above, I have worked with, and for, some of the most respected and professional police officers in the UK. A number of them have carried out assessments on my performance and ability. Again, apologies for what seems almost self congratulation, but among them Sir William Rae (former Chief Constable of Strathclyde) said in 2002, just before my move to Jersey, that I was currently “serving with distinction.” He went on to say the following.

“Superintendent Harper is an intelligent and articulate officer who is performing his current duties to an extremely high level. Since transferring to Strathclyde Police he has shown himself to be a dedicated and highly responsible team player who maintains a consistently professional approach to his duties at all times. The excellence he has shown since joining Strathclyde Police was mirrored during his time with the Metropolitan Police. In April 1989 when stationed at Peckham his Divisional Commander stated that in his role as Detective Inspector he was ‘one of the most effective I have ever known.’ Praise such as this has followed Superintendent Harper throughout his career and for good reason. A modest individual, he has received five commendations, all relating to the investigation of serious crime including one relating to the arrest and conviction of two INLA terrorists.”

Sir William went on to say that my appraisals in Strathclyde had been of an extremely high standard with senior managers universally praising my diligence and abilities at both the operational and strategic levels. He attached copies of my last three staff appraisals which had been written by two senior officers who are now both Chief Constables in Scotland.

Against that backdrop of unimpeachable professional commendation, the trinity of Simon, Warcup, and Gradwell have made it their mission in life to tell as many people as possible how unprofessional and incapable (and even worse) I am. All this on very little knowledge of me, and bolstered by, to borrow Ms. Simon’s words, “lies and half truths.” She would certainly know about lies and half truths, wouldn’t she? With such a volume of informed and respected professional opinion to the contrary, no thinking person would prefer to believe the nonsense, of Simon, Gradwell & Warcup. So am I bothered?


Now let me turn to the actual substance (an ill chosen word to describe what was in these pieces of journalistic rubbish) of Ms. Simon’s articles. I will start with the interview with Mr. Gradwell. I do feel rather weary at this point as I have made all these points before to Simon and others. At least this time however, I am making them to people who will have the ability and willingness to assimilate them.

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.

By the closing weeks of 2007, we had been carrying out the enquiry for some time. A recurring feature of the evidence and information gathering process as we moved into January 2008 was that a number of victims and witnesses had told us they had been assaulted and abused at the former home. 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. At that stage we had no name. (Mr. Gradwell was to say that over a year later he traced the child – perhaps he did. However at that time we had what we had.) 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 still born 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 took issue with this description of the victims and made this clear in a number of e-mails to those concerned.) Mr. Gradwell confirms my suspicion about the origin of this slur on the survivors by his comments to Diane Simon. He and David Warcup at their infamous and discredited press conference last year also peddled this myth about the reasons for digging. The truth is simple to illustrate, because it is well documented.

I arranged to go to the UK to meet experts who would be well qualified to advise us on the way forward. On 5th February 2008, I went to Oxford with our Forensic Services Manager and other staff, and at the Headquarters of LGC Forensics met with Karl Harrison, their lead scientist, National Policing Improvement Agency Homicide Search Advisors, and forensic staff representing Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology, as well as a Cadaver Dog Advisor. We had already asked Mr. Harrison to prepare a desk based study brief of HDLG and he circulated this at the meeting.

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.

Two weeks later we moved in to the grounds of HDLG. We deployed Geophysical assets and Ground Penetrating Radar in order to identify anomalous areas for further investigation. We also used Gridded probing techniques to assist the dogs, and of course we had the anecdotal evidence of witnesses and victims. We decided we would not at any time carry out speculative searching but would deploy the forensic and archaeology assets in areas where there was corroboration that something needed further investigation. Before we excavated, we would give full consideration to possible explanations given by earlier work or utilities. We also studied in depth building plans and maps. It was 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.” (This phrase became a catchword among my team whenever the subject of attempts at cover up would arise.) One worker was so convinced they were human he took them home to examine them against computer images which only strengthened his fears. (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 be 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.

At the same time as we were digesting this deeply puzzling sequence of events, we received a positive reaction from the dog trained to find traces of human remains. This reaction came at the same spot as the builders had found the bones mentioned above. At this point, I took the decision to authorise the archaeologists to dig at that location. I would do the same again. It beggars belief, and I am at a loss to imagine why, Mr. Gradwell and David Warcup should say they would have taken a different decision. To me that would be gross negligence. My decision was fully endorsed by the ACPO team who were mentoring us and this team included the former head of the Met Homicide Department and a vastly experienced Senior Investigating Officer. It was also unanimously supported by all of my senior team including the UK Homicide Search Advisors. The dig was necessary because there were matters which needed further investigation. Indeed, the advice of the ACPO Homicide Team was that we had no choice but to treat the scene as one of a potential homicide. This advice was expressed frequently, and I know it was given to Frank Walker.

I will deal in more detail later with the charred bones found in the cellar areas, but for now will concentrate on the reasons for excavating that area. We had evidence from victims who said they were confined and/or abused in what they described as cellar areas. We could not find them until a local builder who had worked at the area came forward and said he knew where the entrance to these ‘cellars’ were. He showed us and we were eventually able to uncover them. Before excavating further we put the dogs into the area. As we did so, the Chief of Police arrived with the Home Affairs Minister, Wendy Kinnard. They were actually present when the dogs reacted strongly in the cellar and where we were then to find the charred bones and teeth. So, the question is obvious when one thinks that Mr. Gradwell is still claiming that we should not have searched HDLG. At what point should we have walked away? Should we have not started at all – and therefore not found anything – and left the remains (because that is what they are) where they were? Should we have stopped at the wing where the dog initially reacted and, instead, ignored all we knew about the bones found by the builders? Or should we have ignored the dog’s possible corroboration of the victims in the cellar area?

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. A subtle, but crucial, distinction which people could be forgiven for not understanding, given the utter nonsense that’s been peddled recently. 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’. Why would Ms. Simon and the two senior cops say otherwise? I and many others know why. However, we still do not know how, where, or when those children died and probably never will. 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. His view was that the Solid Fuel Furnace in the West Wing was used to dispose of human remains and they were then transferred to the East Wing around 1960-1970. 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! In any event, I reproduce a quote from the report by Karl Harrison below. You might ask the question that if an independent expert such as Karl Harrison is giving us this information, what kind of police officers would we have been to walk away and ignore it? As I say, it beggars belief. Unless your name is Diane Simon, David Warcup, or Gradwell that is.

Here is a quote from the report by Karl Harrison:

“With regard to the human remains recovered from cellars 3,4 & five. Karl Harrison, LGC Forensics lead archaeologist explains :

Detailed archaeological analysis of the building and its structure, in conjunction with archive plans, has provided time lines for historical renovations within the building. Phase I – area above the cellars is a School Room – Victorian styli and slates are dumped in large quantities on the cellar floor. These are in such quantities that it would suggest the floors were being taken up when they were deposited. Although they are mixed throughout the cellar deposits, many slates are lying on the base of the earthen floor, suggesting an early fall. A number of dateable Phase I items (Victorian coinage, Napoleon III coin, Victorian Jubilee medal) have been found in close association with this material.

Phase II/III – At the extension of the building following the major works over the bathhouse directly south of the School Room, educational activities move southwards to our Press Room (as was). The School Room becomes a Play Room in the early 20th C. This would explain the lack of pen nibs such as those in the cisterns entering the record here.

With the exception of a few coins of the period, native Phase II/III material seems to be in short supply. Instead we seem to have imported material – masses of shoe leather and heel irons relate to the shoemakers that functioned through the 20s and 30s, along with buttons and thimbles from the neighbouring dressmakers room. This is closely associated with concentrations of kitchen waste (bottle glass, jar glass, plain domestic ware, patterned ware and charnel), which seems contemporaneous based on design and scraps of printed labels remaining.

All of this is mixed with two distinct non-native soils – a virgin ‘potato’ soil which provides much of the compressed material, and a concentration of charred material – coke, clinker and some charcoal (in very small fragments) – whilst the charred material is associated with smoke stained masonry, none of the goods in the cellar have been burned (as opposed to cooked in the case of animal bone) – other than some of the bone fragments.

Phase IV – Phase IV is characterised by sweeping, evidenced by changes in texture of the cellar fills and the presence of large numbers of plastic bristles and brush head fragments stuck through lower elements of the contexts. In terms of depositions in phase IV, these are (with the exception of a single coin) native in character – the room above the cellars remains a Play Room, and we have a profusion of glass marbles, toy soldiers, play money, farmyard animal figures)

Phase V – Access is gained through the floor by hatch cutting for the 2003 refurbishment – some of the outlying bone and teeth fragments perhaps owe their position to cable laying. What I now think has happened is that a mass of material has been imported from the west wing at a time when the floor of the Play Room was up. This would explain the mix of material from north to south along the wing (glass and ceramic from kitchen larders, leather goods from the shoemakers, buttons from the tailors and high-temperature char from the bake house foundations) These renovations to the west wing have been carried out since 1960 (the brush bristles relate to sweeping of floor surface elsewhere and have been incorporated into the fill elsewhere, rather than someone bothering to sweep a cellar’s earthen floor) – they have involved cleaning, but also significant digging into underlying soil (we have small concentrations of Phase II/III pot sewer pipe, as well as the mass of potato soil). Whilst some of the material might have been taken off site, some has been ditched in barrow and bucket loads on the cellar floor, hence the complex lensing of charred and virgin soils, especially along the footing trenches.”

Fairly significant is it not? Yet, we should not have been in there according to Gradwell, Warcup and Simon. We should have walked away and left the remains there. It was, supposedly, all a waste of time and money, not to mention professionally inept. We may not have found the answers but I am in no doubt that we had to ask the questions. That is what we were police officers for.

Let me now move on to other criticisms levelled by Warcup in his “interview” with Ms. Simon. Firstly, his strange allegation that I was offered the services of a top Senior Investigating Officer and his “matrix” but refused and ordered him to leave the island. Well, I must have had powers I didn’t know about. I was not aware I could order or ask anyone to leave Jersey. The truth here is that I was asked if an officer from the UK could come and talk to some of my staff as he had experience of child abuse investigations and in particular in a number of administrative areas we were utilising. Whatever his experience as a senior investigating officer it was nowhere near that of the ACPO Homicide Detective who was mentoring me and reviewing my work. There was never any suggestion that he should usurp what the ACPO man was doing. Apart from anything else, it would have been duplication. The officer did speak to my staff and I recall they did get some useful stuff from him. However, he came up with this “points system” or matrix in the new, intellectual, politically correct police world of jargon. It was explained to me that it helped prioritise crimes by giving, for example, ten points to a rape, seven for an assault, and one for a towel flick. Now, that might be helpful in a case where you are looking at many dozens of different types of offences, but here although we were dealing with a large number of offences, the types of crime were few and similar. Mr. Gradwell might need a points scoring system to help him tell the difference between a rape and a cuff around the ear. I do not. That is why we said no thank you. It is just another example of how the abundance of talent in today’s police force is hamstrung and prevented from doing their jobs properly by bureaucracy introduced by people frightened of their own shadows and the effect that mistakes may have on their progress up the ladder.

Mr. Gradwell makes the comment that some journalists saw through me and others did not. Well, that depends on whether you are in the camp that wanted the enquiry to fail or not. At least one BBC journalist was in the camp Gradwell felt had not got it right – judging from the abusive text message he sent the journalist.

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. Gradwell’s assertion about the team’s “embarrassed looks” and comments that “we told them so” are bizarre, but sadly predictable, given the propaganda campaign that has been waged to falsely depict a divided team.

I wouldn’t choose to provide the following evidence of the team’s cohesion, and appreciation of my leadership, but as it’s important to combat the lies being fed to the people of Jersey, I do so. All of the team wrote messages to me on my leaving the island. They did not have to. They could not have been forced to as I no longer worked there. Below I reproduce an e-mail sent out by one of my team to all those working for me. I had already said I did not wish to have a retirement function, and knew nothing of these plans until asked to be available for an evening. Would the team have done this if Gradwell was correct in what he has said? I have removed the name of the sender for obvious reasons.

—–Original Message—–
From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 25 June 2008 16:06
To: All HAT Officers
Cc: Coupland, Vicky; Nibbs, Louise; Bentley, Fraser
Subject: SIO Lenny Harper’s Retirement

Greetings to you all,

As you are aware Lenny Harper is fast approaching his last few weeks as the Deputy Chief Officer here in the States of Jersey Police and will be putting his hat and coat on for the final time in August 2008. Most of us have only come into close contact with him as the SIO on ‘Operation Rectangle’ where we have found him to be extremely professional, affable and a thoroughly good ‘Governor’ to work for.

We don’t have a ‘Social Club’ for our group of investigators but having chatted amongst a few of us we have taken the decision to book a restaurant for an evening meal where we as a group can see Lenny off in style. Lenny has agreed to be available on the evening chosen and we will ask him if he would like to bring his wife too. This is not going to be a leaving function linked with the States of Jersey Police who may well organise their own function to mark his departure, as too, may the Politicians and Government ministers on the island.

The arrangements are to meet at The Tenby Public House at St Aubin Bay at 19.00hrs on Wednesday 6th August 2008.

Then to move on a few steps to the Bon Viveur Restaurant , Le Boulevard, St Aubin to sit down at 20.00hrs.

Travel to and from the venue can be organised by getting private hire Taxi vans in different groups.

I am assured that the food at the venue is excellent and for a 3 course meal with wine you will be paying £30 to £40 dependant upon how much you want to eat and drink. Bills can be organised separately.

I have a selection of menus and a wine list to view should you so desire.

Should you wish to participate in this function I would like you to reply to me by ’email’ ASAP in order that we can confirm numbers with the restaurant owner who has booked us in as a group of 30 to 35. Do bear in mind that we have chosen to go out mid week so that the maximum number of us are available. Additionally it will be in the middle of the Tourist season so we have had to book early.

If you do wish to attend please give me a deposit of £20 ASAP. We would also like to present Lenny with a gift to remind him of his work with the ‘Operational Rectangle’ team so if anyone has any ideas please see me too.

Kind Regards,


As further evidence of just how ‘reliable’ super-cop Gradwell is, I reproduce below the comments written by the team on my retirement card, after I had finished working. These are not the kind of comments which get written by the members of a team of the kind depicted by Gradwell; a fact which indicates just how little weight should be attached to his words.

“Sir, you have brought Jersey integrity + transparency, have a long happy retirement. thank you.”

“Enjoy your retirement – it has been a pleasure taking on the system. Enjoy your season ticket.”

“Hope to see you at Old Trafford when Sunderland thrash the red devils. All the best for the future. Enjoy it.”

“And don’t forget the Hull City Tigers thrashing the red devils – well all right, even I am not putting any money on it. Boss, it’s been a pleasure working with you, all the best.”

“Mr. Harper, as a fellow dinosaur it has been a great pleasure to have put our heads together to sort out this plot. Many thanks for your time, efforts and sincerity. Enjoy your retirement.”

“Wishing you the very best for your retirement boss. Take care for the future.”

“Best wishes from the Dorset contingent.”

“You have been a top boss. Enjoy your retirement.”

“Mr. H., it has been an absolute pleasure working for you. This island won’t seem the same without your face on the news every week or so. All the best, have a fab retirement.”

“Boss, it’s been great working for you but I hope to see you in Cumbria soon. All the best for your retirement.”

” I will not even mention Southend, November 2006!! Enjoy your retirement boss – enjoy the rest.” xx

“Mr. Harper, it has been a pleasure working for you and being involved on the enquiry. All the best for the future.”

“All the best, enjoy your retirement like I am.”

“All the best. Happy retirement.”

“Best wishes for the future. Enjoy your retirement go and watch West Ham. You will be missed.”

Sir, Boss, Lenny, (first two scored out) What a trip – ups and downs. Many more ups than downs. I’ve had a ball. Enjoy the trip – you have not seen the last of me.”

“Good luck, best wishes.”

“Have a happy and long retirement and all the best. xx”

“If nothing else you will have contacts throughout the country. All the best.”

“Wish you were staying longer. Enjoy your retirement. -x-“

Mr. Harper, cheers for having us here. You have certainly left your mark. Have a great retirement and enjoy your family.”

“Sorry to see you go. Hope you enjoy your retirement. All the best.”

“Does this mean I can now wear my green and gold T shirt?”

“To a fellow scouser – enjoy your retirement.”

“Mr. H – thanks for the opportunity to come to Jersey. Have a long and happy retirement. All the best.”

“Having made a great commitment to Jersey and certainly placed the island on the map it’s now time to have an enjoyable and fantastic retirement.”

“All the best.”

“Have a fantastic time and a well deserved rest.”

“It’s been great working with you. Have a great retirement.”

“Have a wonderful retirement.”

“Good luck.”

All the very best – enjoy your time.”

“Have a wonderful retirement.”

“Wonderbar!! Kielen donf fur die gelagenheit.”

“Have a long and happy retirement. Best regards.”

“Lenny, thank you for being a great boss and a wonderful friend. I will miss you.” x

As I said, I would prefer not to publish these personal messages, but as so much effort has been expended by certain people in trying to portray me as some deeply unpopular and isolated figure, I feel the people of Jersey deserve to see the true picture. (Some may recall that the above messages were part of what the Attorney General insisted I hand over as he felt they constituted “unused material” critical to the case and warned me I might put the victims at risk of not getting justice if I refused.)

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?

And, as the lawyers had made it clear they would not take a job to court unless there was a good chance of conviction, the evidence must have been pretty good from the outset. However, the papers, evidence, and files I left him on the priority suspects – including the Maguires – were obviously not much help to him as he has not been able to charge any of them. Though perhaps Mr. Gradwell’s inabilities were not the sole cause of this?

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.

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. It was forced on us after the Establishment became worried we were arresting people they would rather we didn’t – and after they’d lost control of the Wateridge process. 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!

This left me with a dilemma. I knew word would get out in minutes that we had released these two without charge and that it would confirm the worst fears of the victims of a cover up. I therefore put out a press release making it clear that it was not our wish and that it had been imposed on us. The Attorney General was not happy and demanded a report from me explaining why I had issued the press release. I did the report – but put in it a little more than the Attorney General wanted – by going through a whole catalogue of events where I felt we had been let down by his office. Someone gave that report to the media, and it can now be read on Stuart Syvret’s blog of the 27th August, 2008. Mr. Warcup has instigated a very expensive investigation into who leaked it, he and Mr. Gradwell telling journalists ‘off the record’ that Stuart Syvret and I were being investigated. Compare that with my failure to get the Attorney General to prosecute corrupt cops for leaking intelligence off police systems!

Mr. Gradwell says that the problem was I promised the victims £1m too much and he only had £1 to give them. In some respects he hasn’t even given them that. I promised them that I would believe them and that I would do my best to get them justice. It seems to me no one else had ever done that before. I never promised huge numbers of convictions and the victims never demanded that. I promised them I would do my best, and the officers who went and saw them achieved that. The numbers of letters, e-mails and phone calls from victims who said that they felt as though a weight had been lifted from them by the officers who spoke to them was incredible and a great testimony to those officers. If promising to believe them, making my belief obvious, and doing my best to get them justice is the equivalent of £1m then so be it. The world now believes in what happened to them. And the evidence is there against other abusers. It is those in power in Jersey that are refusing to use that evidence. They are indeed offering the victims £1 or even less.

Although not directly linked to the Abuse case, we must deal with Mr. Gradwell’s little snide remark about the senior team above the rank of Inspector. Mr. Gradwell is obviously (perhaps) basing his remarks on his experience in the Lancashire force, although as politicians in Jersey kept pointing out to me, policing in the UK is totally different from Jersey. And, whilst I know that Stuart has some differing views on some of those we are talking about, I think I can claim to know those individuals better than either Stuart or Mr. Gradwell in both the professional and personal contexts. I have worked in all the jurisdictions in the UK and I found almost all of the senior officers in SOJP at least the equal of their counterparts in the UK. They had as much skill, professionalism, commitment and integrity as anywhere. In respect of integrity and courage they probably had more than most. I watched two of them, despite having to live on the island, stand up to and continue with a course of action which they felt to be correct and which brought them into conflict with senior figures in the political and legal establishments. This would of course be something Mr. Gradwell and Mr. Warcup would not be comfortable with. One of these officers who had a hugely successful period tackling corruption and misconduct later filled my post more than capably when I was involved in the enquiry. For some reason Mr. Warcup curtailed this and brought someone in from the UK. It would seem that Jersey politicians are now backing away from their previously stated aim that we should be training and preparing local officers for most of the senior posts in the force. Mr. Gradwell was in Jersey for a specific purpose. He played no part in the everyday policing of the island. Just what qualifies him to make critical comments about people he knows little about? It seems to come easily to him.

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.”

It is useful to look at what I was being told by the Anthropologists we had on scene. There are two documents which detail this. Mr. Gradwell and Mr. Warcup quoted selectively from them at the Press Conference and since. One of these documents is the Workbook of the Anthropologists and the other is the Bone and Teeth Summary.

There are numerous entries in the Bone and Teeth Summary which relate to bones found and identified as human by the Anthropologists working at HDLG with my team. It is worth bearing in mind that Anthropologists go through many years training to be considered as experts in the identification of human bones. Those that we used were highly experienced, committed, and ethical. Here are some of the entries they made during the course of their work at HDLG. They are reproduced exactly as written. They are not my interpretation. These are the words of the experts. The entries made by the Anthropologists are a record used by them, and formed the basis for the advice I was given. The reference number which each entry begins with is unique to each fragment, and the accompanying information for each exhibit describes archaeological phase and date, as well as possible origin. I have not mentioned all the teeth in the list as there were just too many. The comment below, in brackets, is mine.

KSH/137: Archaeological phase and Date: 3-4: 1940s to 1980s.
Sixteen fragments of bone submitted to University of Sheffield and positively id’d as human bone. (These were the fragments 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. When the bones were sent for carbon dating we got two results back for the batch. The first, as I recall said the bones examined dated between the 14th and 17th century. The next day we were told the rest of the bones were of a person or persons who died between the 1650s and 1950s. This led to me giving all those press briefings, even reported in the JEP, in which I said the evidence was contradictory and made it unlikely there would be a homicide enquiry. Again, all this seems to have escaped the radar of Messrs Simon, Warcup, and Gradwell. Furthermore, when David James Smith, the Sunday Times journalist spoke to Andrew Chamberlain he said he had never heard me say anything which contradicted his findings and revealed to David he had even waived his fee so impressed was he with the way we were going about our business. In an e-mail to me I was told that Mr. Chamberlain “stressed over and over again that everyone he dealt with, especially you, showed great care and professionalism.” This has obviously not reached the ears of our trio either.)

KSH/158: Archaeological Phase and Date. 3-4. 1940s to 1980s.
Single fragment of bone resembling KSH/137. Submitted to Sheffield University.

JAR/30: 3-4; 1940s to 1980s. Two fragments of burnt bone one is fragment of longbone? Tibia. Submitted to University of Sheffield with KSH/158. Origin confirmed as human. Submitted for dating awaiting results.

JAR/33: 3-4; 1940s to 1980’s.
Calcined fragment of bone. ?human.

JAR/53: 183. Cellar 3 Dark char rich deposit equivalent to 169.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
5 fragments of calcined long bone ?human.

JAR/54: 183. Cellar 3 Dark char rich deposit equivalent to 169.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
4 fragments of calcined bone ?human.

JAR/55: 183. Cellar 3 Dark char rich deposit equivalent to 169.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
1 fragment of calcined bone ?human.

JAR/57:183. Cellar 3 Dark char rich deposit equivalent to 169.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
2 fragments of bone of unknown origin.

JAR/56: 183. Cellar 3 Dark char rich deposit equivalent to 169.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
1 fragment of bone ?human.

JAR/67: 183. Zone 3 East Cellar 3.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
Human Tooth: deciduous left maxillary first molar, age 9 yrs ± 3 yrs. Could have been shed naturally (Anthro exam).
Submitted to odontologist, see report.

JAR/69: 183. Zone 3 East Cellar 3.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
Fragments x 3 of possible human cortical bone.

JAR/61: 183 Zone 4 East Cellar 3.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
23 Fragments of bone:
1 Burnt fragment which closely resembles a human juvenile mastoid process.
2. Burnt fragment of ?human mandible.
3. Fragments of burnt long bone x 3 measuring between 11.3 and 16.3 mm.
4. Fragments of unidentified burnt cortical and trabecular bone x 7.
5. Fragment of slightly burnt long bone measuring 33 mm. The cortex of the
bone resembles human but it is quite thick and the trabeculae can not be seen because it requires cleaning. It appears to have been cut at one end.
6. Fragments of unburnt unidentified long bone. x 3 The appearance and texture of the cortex of the fragments appears more animal than human but it is advised that further examination should be undertaken in order to confirm this.
7. Fragments of unidentified long bone x 7. 5 have been burnt and 2 haven’t. Species
uncertain although two of the burnt fragments could possibly be human

JAR/90: 183 Cellar 3 Zone 3 East.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
Fragments of unidentified bone of unknown species. One which is calcined is possibly human bone.

Cellar 4 Context 169 (redeposited char material from fire elsewhere. Unsealed)

JAR/36: 169. Cellar 4 E. Charred material at southern end of Zone 4. Equivalent to 127.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
Fragment of bone ?human.

JAR/37: 169. Cellar 4 E. Charred material at southern end of Zone 4. Equivalent to 127.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
Fragment of burnt bone. ?human mastoid process

JAR/39: 169. Cellar 4 E. Charred material at southern end of Zone 4. Equivalent to 127.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
Fragment of burnt bone ?human.

JAR/40: 169. Cellar 4 E. Charred material at southern end of Zone 4. Equivalent to 127.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
Fragment of bone ?human.

GMK/18: 169. Cellar 4 E. Charred material at southern end of Zone 4. Equivalent to 127.
4 / 5: 1960s to present date.
Human tooth. Anthro exam – deciduous left maxillary lateral incisor. Age range 6 yrs ± 2yrs.

The above is only part of the information that I was given by the Anthropologists. It gives a vastly different picture to that supplied by Mr. Gradwell and Mr. Warcup and so enthusiastically promoted by Ms. Simon. These entries, made at the time by the Anthropologists, make it clear, that not only did they believe that they were finding human bones, but that the bones had been deposited there fairly recently, in some cases as recently as the 1960’s onwards. Reading the above, could anyone say that the dig at HDLG was a waste of time and money? Where do they get the conclusion that only one human bone was found? More puzzling perhaps, how can Mr. Gradwell or Mr. Warcup claim that I should not have authorised the search at HDLG? The problem was not identifying the bones as human – the expert Anthropologists did that very well. The problem was the contradictions in the carbon dating process which is not that reliable. When we questioned the company who pioneered the process we used they told us that they had taken a live fish out of the sea and carbon dated it several days later. The process told them the fish was thousands of years old. Our Anthropologist told us a similar story about a baby found dead in a house. Although they knew the baby had only been dead since the 1970s, the carbon dating gave a vastly different date. The carbon dating was at odds with the respected expert in the UK who said the bones were only a few decades old. Who was correct? More importantly, why did Mr. Gradwell and Mr. Warcup make no mention of all of this and why quote only selectively from the above document. The document is not being revealed here for the first time. Messrs Gradwell and Warcup quoted from it, albeit selectively, and the Sunday Times also referred to it. What it does do is completely and utterly destroy the suggestion that I exaggerated or lied about what I was told. It will make you wonder though why Mr. Gradwell should say that the dig was a waste of time and money.

One thing is a certain fact: the document quoted above proves – unambiguously – that there was sufficient evidence to justify digging – and that the digging did find concerning artefacts, thus further justifying the process.

We might not have found all the answers – but as police officers we had to ask the questions. At least that is my view.

Mr. Gradwell puzzled me somewhat with his rant about “noble cause corruption.” I know what it is – one example of it was when the Guildford Four were arrested in Heysham, Lancashire, and were then wrongly convicted. But what on earth has that to do with HDLG? Mr. Gradwell said this was like an example of it – we had decided on guilt and then went on a ‘fishing expedition’. He went on to ask if this was what people wanted – a return to the days when police decided guilt and the era of miscarriages of justice? Now this takes me back to Mr. Gradwell’s comments about me that I “could not understand basic facts.” This is maybe why I can’t figure out whose guilt we had, supposedly, made our minds up about when we went into HDLG. We did not even know what crimes may have been committed in relation to the human remains there, never mind who the guilty party may have been. Bizarre!

There was also, of course, his comments about the Media Strategy. ‘When’, he asked, ‘did you ever see routine daily briefings on a police enquiry?’ Plenty of times would be my answer. However, I did not give daily routine briefings. As I am sure the Press Officer would confirm I faced the Press when I did because they were there in numbers and besieging her office with interview requests. On one occasion they even knocked the system out.

So there we have my perspective on what Mr. Gradwell said together with Mr. Warcup. Lies and half truths was the phrase that Diane Simon used. Make your own mind up. Which brings me to Ms. 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. It seems I am not the only one with difficulty in grasping what I am told. She continues to peddle the myth that this fragment was identified as coconut very early on and that I lied about it. I will come to that. Let me once more relate the facts about this fragment known in the media as JAR/6.

The fragment was found on the morning of 23 February 2008. I was telephoned and went to the scene. When I arrived I was briefed as the entry on the Anthropologist’s worksheet reproduced below dated 23 February 2008. I was also told that a News of the World journalist had been caught with a camera in the bushes outside. I knew therefore that someone had leaked our work to the media and I also knew that it would only be a matter of time before the JEP found out about the fragment. Over the previous couple of years we had mounted several enquiries to find the source within the force who kept leaking details to various journalists of the JEP. My view was that if the media reported it before we did we would lose credibility with our vulnerable victims and witnesses. The entry below is quite clear. Note that it was found in Trench 3.

“23 February 2008
09.10 hrs
Examined JAR/6. Recovered from Context 011 Trench 3. Degraded fragment of bone thought to be human skull, probably from a child (see full inventory for details). Associated with mixed debris including animal bone, buttons and a leather “thong”. Discussed findings with SIO Lenny HARPER and Forensic Manager Vicky COUPLAND. It was decided that the bone should be sent for C14 dating*.”

Diane Simon, Mick Gradwell, and David Warcup have all said that I was told the next day that the context of the area I found pre-dated the enquiry. This is simply not true. The fragment was found under the stairs in Trench 3. Anyone who thinks that the inch by inch, painstaking, search conducted on their knees by the Archaeologists and Anthropologists took only one day knows nothing about this sort of work. Page 2 of the Anthropologists worksheet shows that they were still working on Trench 3 on 6th March and were still working under the stairs on 20th March. It was sometime around then that the work on this context was completed and we were told that the context meant the fragment was probably too old to be important to the enquiry. We then immediately ruled it out of our enquiry. Further confirmation of this is given on Page 16 of the Worksheet when the Anthropologist Julie Roberts made the entry reproduced below. This entry was made on 9th April and refers to the 8th April. Note what she says in the entry because it totally contradicts what Gradwell, Warcup, and Simon say. For instance, where she says “now that the phasing of the area under the stairs has been completed,”. This would certainly seem to contradict the information given to the media by Gradwell and Warcup that it had been completed as early as the 24 February.

“9 April 2008
On 8 April 2008 I read the C14 dating results relating to JAR/6. The report stated that the fragment was too degraded to obtain a date. The fragment can however be dated by archaeological context now that the phasing of the area under the stairs has been completed. JAR/6 was found in Context 003, Trench 3. This Context is thought to belong to the earliest phase of the building, phase 1, which has been dated to the Victorian period. It certainly predates the 1940’s aggregate 008.

On 8 and 9 April 2008 I re-examined JAR/6. Since I initially examined the fragment it had dried out considerably and changed in colour, texture and weight. These changes caused me to reconsider my initial observation that the fragment was human bone, although I cannot reach a definite conclusion without conducting further chemical analysis. I reported my findings to Forensic Manager Vicky COUPLAND and SIO Lenny HARPER and we discussed a number of options regarding how to proceed with the fragment. Our conclusion was that as the fragment had been found in the pre 1940’s phase of the building, no further work would be conducted on it.”

Note also what Julie Roberts says about the fragment. Gradwell and Warcup told the media she had changed her mind and now thought it was something else. That is not what she is saying, even after examining it again and reporting changes to it. She clearly says that she cannot be sure without conducting further chemical analysis.

Furthermore, Miss Roberts says that she discussed it with myself and the Forensic Manager and that we discussed a number of options regarding how to proceed. She then says that “our” conclusion was that as we had already ruled it out of the enquiry, no further work would be conducted on it. “Our” obviously includes her in the decision. According to Mr. Gradwell and Mr. Warcup, I rode roughshod over her opinion. More misinformation.

It is the same also with the myth that this was identified as a coconut during my time in the island. I detail below the sequence of events relating to the examination of the fragment. This is fully corroborated by copy e-mails from the lab which examined the fragment. I am not aware that it has ever been identified as a coconut. Anthropologists are trained to identify human remains. The only anthropologist to examine it thought it part of a child’s skull. On seeing it later when it had changed its appearance she was not so sure. People carrying out Carbon Dating are trained for that process, not identifying the matter. Even then, they gave contradictory and confused information to us. When reading below, bear in mind that collagen is found only in mammals, not wood, not coconut.

We sent the fragment off for dating around the 3rd or 4th March. If Gradwell and Warcup are to be believed I already knew it was hundreds of years old. Why would we send it off for dating if we already knew? However, my remarks above and the Anthropologist’s worksheet make it clear this was not true. The accompanying form completed by the Forensic Services Manager which went with the fragment also makes it clear that we did not know its age when we sent it off in March. Why would Mr. Gradwell claim that we did? There are also e-mails which must still be within the SOJP system which make it clear that we did not know the age of the fragment when sending it off, particularly those sent by the Forensic Services Manager.

On 28th March 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.”

Now, if you look at that e-mail, it makes clear a number of things. Firstly, they, the experts on dating, are not sure they can date it. Secondly, they make it clear they have found more than enough collagen (only found in mammals) to date the fragment, but then change their mind again and say it is too badly degraded. Also, note the use of the terms ‘skull’ and ‘bone.’ If the experts cannot be sure on 28th March, how can anyone say that I knew on 24th February? On 31st March, Ms Brock e-mailed again. In this e-mail, headed, “Re: Jersey Skull for C14 Dating,” she said that ‘the Director had now expressed concern about what the fragment was. The Technician (who is not an Anthropologist) who was carrying out the process commented that it ‘looked like a coconut husk.’ She went on to say “If it isn’t bone I am really sorry,” but then finishes with “although it could well have been poorly preserved bone as I described it.”

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.

At the time, I e-mailed the laboratory and asked them two questions. The first was “Are you saying definitively that this is not bone?” The second was “If you do not think it is bone how can you explain the presence of more collagen than is usually needed to date bearing in mind that collagen is found only in mammals?”

In answer to the first question they told me they did not think it was bone but the only way we could be sure was to have it re-examined by someone qualified to do so. I am still waiting on an answer to the question about the collagen.

I am therefore at a loss, given the above, which is all documented and evidenced, how either Mr. Gradwell, Mr. Warcup, or Diane Simon can say that I knew at a very early stage that the fragment was definitely old and that it was definitely a piece of coconut. The truth is that, as I left the island, we did not know what it was. The Anthropologist who declared it a piece of a child’s skull could not be as certain after seeing it six weeks later when it had changed pretty substantially. Even then she said it would need further examination, which in effect is what the lab said. Why would anyone try to make out this was not the case?

I have had to explain those details in response to so much nonsense which has been peddled by the Jersey Establishment – but we shouldn’t be diverted by the issue of this, one fragment.

The crucial fact – that the powers-that-be in Jersey don’t want people to understand – is that the single fragment in question had been discounted from the investigation.

The important thing of course is not what it is. That stopped being important when we found out how old it was. Gradwell, Warcup, and Ms. Simon have totally ignored that fact. They have tried to tell the public that I knew it was coconut and/or too old to be of interest very early on, but nevertheless pursued the investigation solely on the basis of that, one, fragment. Their story is a total fabrication.

I am aware that this is a long and pretty dry document so I will try and be brief with the rest. Ms. Simon casts scorn, along with Mr. Gradwell, on the shackles we found. No matter what he may have found someone to later say about what they could be, the facts remain as follows.

I did not introduce the term shackles to the media. When builders heard that we were searching the area they had been working in, they went and told reporters that the police would find the ‘shackles’ they had found several years before when they were working there. Without knowing this, and with the evidence of victims in our minds, when we recovered these artefacts we all felt that the items were shackles. This means that the builders and ourselves, several years apart, came to the same conclusion; these items were shackles. I do not know what Mr. Gradwell showed to the media when he described them as something to do with roofing. I do know that never have I seen anything on any roof or gutter with a length of chain and a bracelet type affair at each end. When I emerged after being told of the find I was careful not to mention shackles. However when the media asked me what I had found and I replied that I had found some items which corroborated the victims evidence, one of them said, “Ah, so you found the shackles then?” It was to be several weeks before I admitted that we thought they were shackles as by that time it seemed rather daft to keep denying it.

Something else which caused me some angst, and consternation among a large number of journalists, was the pronounciation by Mr. Warcup and Mr. Gradwell at their press conference that they had to now contradict me and say there was no evidence of murder and no murder suspects. They must have somehow missed all the press conferences and media interviews that I gave in which I said exactly the same thing. Why they should try and give the impression that I was saying something different I do not know. They only have to look at the BBC News website for the 31st July 2008, to see that I was saying that in view of the contradictory evidence from the experts in respect of the evidence of the age of the bones, unless things changed there would be no homicide enquiry. Even clearer, the Sunday Times on 10th May 2009 made it plain that I was actively discouraging their journalist from believing the more lurid headlines. A large number of journalists from television, radio, and print contacted me on the day of the Gradwell/Warcup press conference, to ask what on earth they were talking about. They all said they had checked their records and I had never said that there was evidence of murder. Why did Gradwell and Warcup get it so wrong? Why did they sit there and smugly tell the public something that was simply just not true?

Let me deal with some of the other allegations and mud that has been thrown. Diane Simon, Mr. Warcup, and Mr. Gradwell have criticised the use of Mr. Martin Grimes and his dogs, pointing to the case in Portugal as evidence of their lack of usefulness and criticising the cost, including the cost of the accommodation at the hotel we used for him. Firstly, they fundamentally misunderstand the role of the dogs. They do not, and cannot tell us that has happened at a location nor indeed, if there has been a murder or even a dead body there. What they tell us is that there is something which needs investigating. They are trained either to detect the presence of the scent of dead human flesh or blood. This they did, as in the cellar where they reacted and led us to all the bones and teeth. There were thousands of animal bones in that area and we recovered many hundreds. The dogs ignored them all. David James Smith, the Sunday Times journalist summed it up by saying that the difference between my team and the police in Portugal was that we knew the limitations of what the dog was telling us. That said, I am a great admirer of the dogs and their handler. They worked long and hard hours. We carried out frequent tests on them and they succeeded every time. One such test was when one of the Anthropologists brought some sand which had been in contact with a mummy in another country. It was put on the beach and the dog went to it. Again, it was telling us there was something there to ask questions about. Nothing else. Ms. Simon asks why we had to use Martin Grimes for so long. The answer is simple. At the outset we had Homicide Search Experts from the National Policing Improvement Agency with us. (Incidentally, they recommended our operation at HDLG as an example of good practice), but they could not stay indefinitely. The expert who was there was called to Australia to assist with a high profile murder of a British subject in which the body was never found. With his agreement and advice, Martin Grimes acted as Search Advisor in his absence, a role that he filled with skill and dedication.

As for the hotel costs which Ms. Simon criticised, what were we to do? Put him in a tent? We received excellent rates for bed and breakfast way below what the hotels would normally charge. Not only that but Steven Austin Vautier at the Home Affairs Department, and the Treasury, were well aware of the rates, and at frequent meetings agreed that they were good value. Mr. Grimes himself reduced his rates and did not charge for many expenses. All costs were known to the Treasury as they were incurred, and of course the Chief Minister continually assured us that we should use whatever resources were necessary, even to the extent of criticising me for daring to suggest to the media that cost was an issue. “Cost is irrelevant” said civil service chief, Bill Ogley in an e-mail, “the investigation is the important thing.” How then can they now criticise Graham Power or myself for the cost of the enquiry?

I keep seeing criticism of our actions which mention that there were no bodies and no reports of children missing. I have dealt with the findings of the human remains above. In respect of no reports of children missing there are a number of things to be considered. Firstly, children were brought casually to HDLG and sometimes no one even knew they were there. Records of missing persons were only held until comparatively recently by the parishes. Unlike in the UK, the professional police had no involvement. Also, children arrived from the UK without proper records being kept anywhere. One example was the Local Authority in the West Midlands area of the UK who contacted us to say they had sent six children to the island’s care system and had lost touch with them, never hearing of them again.

There is also, of course, the alleged book deal which the Jersey Evening Post and Ms. Simon seem to be fixated with. I wonder if some clue can be gleaned from the fact that Elaine Byrne of that paper telephoned at least one member of the literary world in London and told him that they had been told he had signed me to a book deal. She told him that they were interested in serialising the book and asked how much he had paid me and what the arrangement was? The person quite correctly said there was no such agreement. He had contacted me, he said, (as have many others) but I had refused, saying I could not consider it until I finished working. She then asked how much he would offer in such a case. She was given short shrift and the man contacted me. I have to say I was grateful for the call. However, it shows that either the JEP are hypocritical in the extreme in wanting to serialise such a book by me, or Elaine Byrne was lying. Which would you bet your money on? Now, of course, Diane Simon is talking about a £200,000 book deal. I wish! No, it’s simply more literally incredible nonsense from the JEP.

In any event, there is no book deal, and as yet, no book. But, who knows? One sure thing, money will not be the motivation if I do. Besides, with the circulation this will get on Stuart’s blog who needs to write a book?

Another thing which Gradwell has criticised me for in the media, was the fact that relations with the lawyers and the Attorney General’s office were abysmal.


And his point is?

They were abysmal because I refused to accept a shoddy service and constant moving of the goal posts. Anyone in any doubt as to what I mean should read the report I produced to him, on his instructions, as to why I issued a press release disclaiming responsibility for the release of two sadists who liked to hit children with cricket bats, and which someone leaked to the media. As already mentioned above, it can still be read on Stuart Syvret’s blog. That report illustrates exactly why relations were bad. What would he or Mr. Warcup have done if they had been in charge of the investigation when we arrested the now convicted Wateridge – and the AG told me not to charge – shortly before we were going to do so? I think I know. Relations were not helped either by him trying to control my dealings with the media, as shown in a number of e-mails.

Which reminds me of another criticism by Gradwell and Ms. Simon – that of the media policy and the high profile of it. I thought the Daily Telegraph summed it up well, way back in February when one of their columnists said that she saw three reasons for the media policy. Firstly, it was to reassure the victims that this time someone believed them. Secondly, to attract witnesses – and thirdly to protect myself and my enquiry from the same forces that had covered up everything before.


Make no mistake about it. If it had not been for the National media I would have been shunted off the island long before I found anything. I have a number of e-mails which detail how Frank Walker was continually saying that he was under pressure to sack or suspend me. I know for a fact that Graham Power told him, “Just you dare!”

A couple of years back a valued and trusted senior colleague caused a furore by describing the JEP as “a comic” in an e-mail to one of its journalists. The journalist ran to the Editor Chris Bright who wept, wailed, kicked up a tantrum, and then made a complaint against the officer. He did not like being called the editor of a comic. The matter was resolved without my colleague apologising. It is clear to me now that he was doing Biffo the Bear, Corky the Cat, and all those other endearing characters a gross injustice.

Oh yes, one more thing which I need to defend myself against. 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. Let me explain.

Within a week or two of arriving in the island I had been approached by a number of officers who were obviously sounding me out. I was asked by both male and female officers how I would deal with bullying. My answer was always the same. Ruthlessly. And so, officers started coming to John Pearson, I, and other members of the Senior Management Team with complaints of bullying. There was a confidential reporting line run by a company in the UK but it was rarely used. Our staff preferred to come to us. We investigated all allegations and did so with the overwhelming support of the majority of the force. There were some unbelievable instances and I reproduce below part of the affidavit which I gave to the High Court in London for a recent court case. I have left the first paragraph in to show the type of tensions there were with some of the politicians.

“In those early days I also had a number of differences of opinion with the then Deputy Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee who was the Connétable of one of the country parishes. He objected to States of Jersey Police Vehicles driving through his parish on training duties and complained several times that they had answered emergency calls without asking his prior authority to enter his parish. This was an early foretaste of many battles to come where politicians would seek to control our day to day operational activities.

During my time as a senior officer in the United Kingdom I had become known as someone who, whilst critical of the damage that over- zealous political correctness could do, would not tolerate bullying which caused people to feel uncomfortable at work and in some cases made them ill. I became aware that a small number of officers in the SOJP were making life difficult for others through bullying. A number of the victims came to me personally and I took firm action against the bullies. I will describe a few such examples in order to put into context the response our actions brought from the Jersey establishment.

Shortly after I arrived I held a ‘forum’ for the Constables of the force. I did this in response to complaints from officers that they had never been listened to. Towards the end of the meeting I asked if anyone had anything else to ask. A female officer asked how I would deal with bullying. “Ruthlessly,” I replied.

The woman officer left it at that and I forgot about the exchange until about six weeks later when I was about to fly out from Jersey Airport to the UK. The officer approached me and asked if I remembered her asking the question. We spoke for some time and she relayed a horrific tale of abuse, assault and bullying by a Sergeant in the force against her, which was witnessed on a number of occasions by other senior officers who did nothing. When she complained to one Inspector he told her he understood her situation but if he did anything the Sergeant would “turn on him.” The female officer had eventually gone to a very senior officer who had told her to forget it or her job would be at risk.

I started enquiries and found that her story was corroborated by over a dozen officers. One male officer told how one night shift he was sitting in the Station Office with the Sergeant when the latter produced a 9mm semi automatic pistol. The Sergeant dismantled the firearm and cleaned it. When finished, he assembled it, put the magazine in and cocked the weapon. He then pointed it directly at the male officer’s head for several seconds before lowering it and saying “No, not tonight.” That male officer is still suffering the effects of the bullying by the Sergeant. The female officer concerned has a civil action pending against the force which I do not believe is being contested.

On another occasion, I was approached on behalf of a vulnerable member of staff who had reported a domestic assault on herself. The investigating officer, a long serving detective, had asked her for her mobile phone number and had given her his “in case they needed to contact each other.” A couple of evenings later she received a lengthy series of text messages spread over several hours which started with comments about her physical appearance and what she looked like bending over the photo-copier to extremely explicit texts about what the sender would like to do to her. These messages all came from the phone of the investigating officer. After I obtained the transcripts of these messages I challenged the officer. He at first denied it but changed his story. I returned him to uniform but did not discipline him as the victims vulnerable state would have meant that she would have suffered even more from a prolonged drawn out saga.

In another incident, a young Detective Sergeant reported a member of staff for carrying out particularly nasty racial bullying of a Portuguese woman officer. A short time later property belonging to him was vandalised in the CID office. We were told the suspect’s name in confidence by several detectives but had nothing we could use in evidence and no one was forthcoming. The Head of CID, who had also just come from the UK, and myself gathered every detective in the force together and warned them that if there was any repeat of this all of them would be returned to Uniform and we would re build the CID from scratch. We never did have a repeat despite only using local officers in a number of high profile anti corruption investigations which started off as covert operations.

It was clear however, that many Jersey politicians did not approve of our efforts to tackle bullying. We were openly criticised in the media by these people and on one occasion were referred to as the “politically correct KGB stalking the corridors of Police Headquarters.” At the same time however, it was clear that we had the support of the vast majority of the force as was illustrated by what Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary found when they carried out their first inspection during my time there. They found that Graham Power, myself, and John Pearson, had already made many changes which had transformed the force and the morale of its officers. The fact that the leadership style was supported by the rank and file was one of the findings. A second Inspection a few years later was to single out the work that had been done on Professional Standards and the strong leadership which had played a part in turning the force into a professional and innovative organisation.”

The arrogance of the small minority who were carrying out this type of unprofessional behaviour was illustrated by the example of one senior member of staff who was the subject of several complaints to me from female colleagues. They complained about sexual innuendo and worse. Eventually I had him in my office one afternoon and warned him that another similar incident would result in disciplinary action. That night he took a visiting police staff member from the UK out to dinner and continually ran his hand along places he should not have. She complained and he left our employ soon after.

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. The sister of one local businessman, who twenty police officers admitted taking favours or services from, even wrote to most of the news desks in London accusing me of abuse myself. Stuart Syvret was contacted and told not to trust me or my deputy in the investigation. Of course, being Stuart, the first thing he did was pick-up the phone and tell me about the approach. Again, I should emphasise, the bad and the corrupt were a small minority in a force brimming with talent and commitment.

I have been asked to explain what the ACPO reports were. Gladly. The evening we found the first fragment I contacted ACPO in the UK and asked them to appoint a team to oversee the enquiry and quality control it. This was something I readily agreed with Graham Power. I did so because 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. Let me make quite clear now, that Wendy Kinnard was a staunch supporter of this enquiry and had to endure some difficult times because of it. An early example came at this meeting.

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. In a similar manner those who alleged that they were the victims of a racially motivated attack had to be treated as such even where there was not a shred of evidence of a racial motive. Walker argued, Wendy Kinnard spoke strongly in agreement with me and I continued to use the word “victims” for the rest of my time in Jersey.

Anyway, back to ACPO. Three members of the ACPO Homicide Review Group were appointed to oversee the enquiry. The team was led by the former head of the Mets Homicide Teams who now works for the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. He was probably the United Kingdom’s most experienced Murder investigator. He was assisted by an expert in the HOLMES computer system on which we were running the enquiry. A female member of the Review Group made up the trio. Their terms of reference were drawn up by them and signed by their leader and Graham Power. Included in the signed terms of reference was the commitment to quality control of the investigation and personal mentoring for myself, my deputy, and the office manager who was responsible for the computer systems used. For some reason, Mr Gradwell and Mr Warcup have sought to make people think that it was no part of the ACPO team’s remit to quality control the investigation. This is untrue and can clearly be seen to be untrue by simple examination of their terms of reference and their reports. David James Smith, of the Sunday Times, made this point in his article.

The ACPO team duly arrived and over several visits set about examining all aspects of our work. After each set of visits which lasted several days, they would issue a report and hand that report to Graham Power, the Home Affairs Minister, and onwards to the Chief Minister. Indeed, two members of the team even had an hour long meeting with the Chief Minister, Bill Ogley, and, I think, the HA Minister during which time they briefed them on the way the investigation was proceeding and their thoughts on it. This was in the absence of Graham Power and myself. If there was anything wrong with the enquiry, given Walkers hostility to it, it would surely have been made known after that meeting.

During their visits to the island the team would speak to myself and many other members of my team. They spent many hours examining the computer system and the entries on it. I had to hand over all my policy books to them for examination. They were to comment in one of their reports that the Policy Books were being properly maintained. These are the documents that Gradwell said were a ‘mess’, and led to his comments about taking over “a poorly managed mess.”

Who is likely to be correct? The ACPO Homicide Review Team or Mr Gradwell?

Each report by the ACPO team would give their comments on the way the enquiry was progressing and would make recommendations. In the second report they stated that we were to be congratulated on the speed with which we had implemented these recommendations. The Team leader told me that it was the quickest he had ever seen recommendations being implemented. Gradwell told journalists that one of the team had told him that we had said we implemented things which, in fact, we had not. I asked the leader of the ACPO team about this. “Nonsense, it was never said,” was his response.

Of the two or three ACPO reports made whilst I was there, none contained any serious criticism. As with all such reviews there were things they felt we could do, or do differently, and we always had discussions around those. If I felt that it was not applicable to the Jersey context, I said so.

For example, one of their early recommendations was that I should have a ‘Gold Group’ which would include senior figures from the “caring agencies” in Jersey. I said some of those were among our priority suspects. The ACPO team accepted that it was not a good idea.

Gradwell bitterly criticised my media strategy and one press conference in particular came in for strong criticism where they accused me of brandishing a tooth in front of the media. The truth is simple. It was an excellent idea but it was not mine. I was at HDLG and it was just after we started finding the teeth and were being told that some of them could not have come out from children who were still alive. I was going out to answer questions at the demand of the media. The head of the ACPO team suggested that as a means of showing just how small the teeth were, and of illustrating what a good job the Archaeological and Anthropology teams were doing, I should show the media a tooth. He suggested displaying it alongside a five pence piece. I did so. I was criticised by someone in the States that afternoon for using a Jersey five pence piece and making the island look bad when I could have used a UK coin.

The ACPO reports are of course there to be seen but they seem to have been ignored by Mr Gradwell and Mr Warcup. The Sunday Times has seen them of course and they posed the question as to why Warcup and Gradwell are so intent on rubbishing my work when the man who “made a little boy’s head bob up and down in the water” (whilst sexually assaulting the boy), is still free? A good question indeed.

I think that probably covers most of the allegations made against me, the enquiry, the team and indeed the victims over the past few months. A well known journalist told me he could not understand Mr. Gradwell’s obsession with me and that in other circumstances we would probably have got along very well. I do not think so. Our fundamental beliefs in the purpose of good policing are too different. I believe that police officers are there to protect the vulnerable and to put the bad guys away where they will do no harm. Simplistic I know. Mr. Gradwell tells Diane Simon that a person’s guilt is not a concern of the police. That is one reason I am glad to be out of it.

I am sorry this is such a long and dry document. Of necessity it had to be that way to deal with all the nonsense that has been written and spoken about myself, my team, the enquiry, and most of all, the victims. I hope it has not seemed too much like Lenny Harper congratulating himself, but in circumstances where people who do not know me are labelling me as all sorts of monster, I needed to redress the balance. For those who have persevered this far, my thanks. My thanks also to everyone who has written to me, e-mailed me, or expressed support in other ways. It all meant, and continues to mean, a lot.

Lenny Harper

5th September, 2009.


Another Independent Assessment.

On Saturday the 29th Jan, I published an article written by an anonymous author – but one who clearly possesses a deep and clear understanding of Channel Island media.

Titled “The Quality of Local Journalism”, I commend the article to any reader who wants some true insight into just how atrocious “journalism” is in Jersey.

In a comment, a reader mentioned an article that had appeared in The Times some years earlier, written by a UK journalist who had the misfortune to join Channel Television. I’ve located the piece, and as I don’t have time to write anything myself at the moment – being consumed with the task of trying to prevent the Jersey oligarchy from jailing me for months for the crime of having been an opposition politician – I thought I’d post the original article by Patrick Muirhead.

It’s another funny – and depressingly accurate – account of just how truly dismal is the quality of “news” reporting in these islands.

If I ever have time, I must write some postings on the political economy of the mass-media in the Channel Islands. In the meantime – here is something lighter – and just as damning.


From The Times
January 19, 2005

Anchor’s away: how my TV news career sank

After leaving BBC radio to become anchorman on Britain’s smallest ITV station our correspondent found himself drowning in the murky waters of local celebrity

By Patrick Muirhead

LAST year I was really, seriously famous. Famous in the Channel Islands, that is. Until my brief sojourn in Jersey ended last month I was that most deservedly lampooned small-screen creation, the local TV anchorman. But my micro-fame as the Alan Partridge of St Helier was far from the pleasurable fest of freebies, village fête openings and knee-tremblers with nubile young television wannabes that I had imagined when I accepted the job.

I blush to admit that I grew up dreaming that I might one day soar to the firmament occupied by Mike Neville, Bob Warman and Fred Dinenage. ‘Who’, you ask? Deities in their own regions, they are the linchpins of local news around the British Isles: adored by lonely spinsters, revered as judges of flower shows, stalwarts of school governing bodies and magistrates’ benches up and down the land.

My ambition was not entirely to achieve fun-sized stardom. It was buttressed by an honest passion for local news, rooted in my happy journalistic beginnings on a weekly local paper 17 years before. Then, stories of prize-winning cucumbers and golden wedding accounts of a lifetime’s give and take had enthralled me. But the world had shrunk since. Although I risk earning myself a place in Pseuds’ Corner by saying so, the people of the Aceh peninsula had become the new neighbours. For some inexplicable reason I had failed to notice this encouraging sign of personal development.

Last summer I gave up my job on Radio 4 to front Channel Report, the long-running “flagship” of Channel Television, the islands’ ITV contractor. Flagship is a grandiose title; it was the station’s only regular daily production, if you exclude the filler of children’s birthday greetings presented by a cheery actor and a puppet called Oscar Puffin operated by a man kneeling on the floor with an arm shoved up the bird’s backside.

I have to admit it had sounded like fun: to be a big fish in a small pool, to live on a beautiful temperate island, to escape from the grime and crime of the metropolis. But I had not reckoned on my plan’s tragic flaw: I was taking myself along too.

Channel, with a staff of around 50, is by far the tiniest of the original ITV franchisees. It clings tenaciously to existence after 42 years serving the 150,000 residents of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, resolutely independent despite the amalgamation of most of its ITV bedfellows. “Only someone with a very tidy mind would bother to buy Channel,” my predecessor told me witheringly, as he tugged the rip cord and jumped, quelling some of my misgivings but igniting others.

I prepared minutely for my new role, splurging a fortune on Savile Row tailoring, attending the dentist, the barber and beautician. I memorised quirky Jersey-French pronunciations, plodded through the Dame of Sark’s autobiography and other instructive histories, and acquainted myself with the perilous local sensitivities of terms such as “money launderer”, “tax dodger” and “Nazi collaborator”. I even downloaded the Bergerac theme tune to my mobile phone as a sort of devotional act.

Channel Report was re-launched last September with zippy new opening titles, a vast, redesigned studio set, fresh-faced presentation duo on its plump blue banquette, a beefed-up reporting team and a commitment to a sharper, contemporary agenda. With no trace of self-consciousness we did a deadpan delivery of our headline story on re-launch night: “Shopping survey: what’s in your basket?” Hard-hitting stuff.

An apparatchik from Ofcom turned up for a snoop, asked for me by name when told of my appointment and seemed delighted to shake my hand. “I just wanted to say hello because I miss you on Radio 4. Such a loss,” she said. I gulped back tears as it began to dawn on me that I had almost certainly just steered myself into professional oblivion.

Undeterred, I quickly acquired that cheeky wink that is the local TV man’s stock in trade, learned to loll nonchalantly on the sofa, eyes and teeth twinkling at the antics of kittens and puppies, brow furrowed in pity for the victims of chip-pan blazes and car shunts. I cast adoring glances at my pregnant co-presenter at regular intervals, cultivated that familiarity with her that, we were told, viewers love. We even quipped on air about her swelling bump after viewers queried the gal’s carb intake.

But from the outset I was spectacularly unsuited to the work: my eyesight was so poor that I had to squint to read the teleprompt, thus appearing to resemble a leering Wilfred Brambell rather than the silvery host of the small screen; I was so deaf that I constantly missed vital cues whispered into my earpiece, such as when to speak, when to shut up and where to look. I could have been caught staring into space 100 times had not my co-host covertly jabbed my thigh behind our little smoked-glass coffee table. These failings flustered me, were embarrassing and made me bratty. Quickly I became the brittle egomaniac of TV fable, so uneasy was I about fouling up.

I was expected to apply my own make-up. At first my efforts with the brush would barely have flattered a paraplegic foot-painter but I did eventually acquire a few rudimentary skills. I settled for looking like a cadaver of some six months deceased.

It takes considerable talent to be nice on television. The camera can lie if you are clever enough to cheat it. But you must first convince yourself of your sincerity. Beneath the bonhomie and impasto foundation cream that could have in-filled even the lunar facial declivities of Ukraine’s new president, I was squirming at my own performance, a steaming pile of phoney folksiness. I was re-hashing something from the era of Val Doonican, Lucky Ladders and Stars on Sunday. And doing it badly.

Perhaps my co-presenter and I fooled somebody in Herm, but it was obvious to many that we were hardly the best of friends. She found my style abrasive: “Your forthrightness just puts people’s backs up,” she said, after complaints about my foot-in-the-door journalistic methods. Conversely, I found her approach fawning and sometimes wooden. Occasionally, when viewers saw us silhouetted on our sofa at the start of the show, apparently chatting to each other with amicable animation, we were in reality trading verbal blows through grimaces hoping that lip-readers were preoccupied elsewhere.

But my co-host embodied precisely the qualities that make a successful ITV regional anchor. Viewers cared vastly more for news of her pregnancy than for insights into Jersey’s £100 million budget deficit, its alarming heroin addiction problem or its unassimilated and resentful immigrant population. We were the viewers’ surrogate grandson and granddaughter. They may even be knitting for the baby as I write.

Once, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda visited Jersey, ostensibly to collect four ribbon-bedecked Jersey cattle to bolster his nation’s dairy herd. I wished to ask him why he had really come to an island awash with financiers while massing his army on the border with his neighbour Congo ready for war with Hutus who threatened to invade. I could not have cared less about cutesy cows; I ached to be Jeremy Paxman. But my job was to gush and whoop convincingly about bovines in bunting. That sort of journalism demands no less panache that Paxo’s; it’s just not in my skills set.

Micro-fame entailed being recognised by excited viewers but usually at embarrassing and inopportune moments. Once, on an excursion together to St Helier’s vegetable market early in our partnership, my co-host and I were wrestling with a spilled punnet of strawberries and half a dozen unruly satsumas when a passer-by observed that we resembled “that pair on the telly”. “Similar,” I assured the lady as I pursued wayward soft fruit on all fours. “Similar, but not the same.”

On an evening off, I was pushing a trolley full of loo rolls around a supermarket when an elderly viewer gesticulated at her wristwatch. “You’d better get a wriggle on, dear. It’s nearly six. You’re on in ten minutes!” Pausing to inspect my purchases, she exclaimed: “Andrex. I always knew you was quality.”

Worse than that was the morning when I crashed my scooter on the way to work. As I stumbled free of the wreckage of the Vespa, several people sidled up to gawp or commiserate. “It’s him off the news,” said one. “Will this be tonight’s top story, mate?” quipped another, displaying a disarmingly astute grasp of some news bulletins.

Then I completely misjudged local humour when we featured Guernsey’s destitute dogs. Summarising the viewers’ interest in each sorry-looking stray, I joked that the plight of a mutt called Shadow had elicited only a single inquiry, that from a Korean restaurant. “You will have to apologise,” implored the producer in my ear. Reluctantly I withdrew my mischievous insinuation but decided instead to go for the double: I said it had in fact been a Chinese restaurant. The collective recoil in my ear would have befitted an unguarded fellatio joke at an Edwardian ladies’ tea party. Afterwards, one complaint flooded in.

The perks I accrued were very modest. They included one promotional bottle of Miss You Nights, Cliff Richard’s fragrance for the more mature lady, a puff of which called to mind weedkiller more readily than wandering stars; and a free VIP pass to St Helier’s one and only gay nightclub with its strict “no snogging” rule — a recklessly libertarian institution by Jersey standards when one considers that dancing on Sunday was not permitted on the island until a few short years ago. At the Cosmopolitan they treated me as the island’s biggest star. But local TV anchors are stars only in the eyes of their mothers and a few grannies in supermarkets. Even I knew that.

After just two months on Channel Report I tendered my resignation, the notice period being somewhat longer than my term of service. A record, possibly, but at a price: having suffered from psoriasis since my teens, I was by now covered almost from head to toe in stress-induced weals and hopelessly unable to sleep, and my moods had become less sure than a high-sided vehicle crossing the Severn Bridge in a hurricane. “You’re showing signs of anxiety,” my doctor said with elegant understatement.

Regional television is a snakes and ladders affair: its barely literate but busty secretaries shoot to stardom while those grey-haired game show hosts of yesteryear settle in for their eternal rest. To survive for decades, as some venerable local anchormen have done, the beloved purveyors of bland, banal and often downright boring fare, is a remarkable feat indeed. For viewers they supply constancy and comfort; for the TV companies, after an anchorman’s first ten or so years on screen he is like baked-on grime: impossible to shift.

But ITV regional news is in terminal decline. Commitment to local programming is diminishing year by year as the regulator Ofcom relaxes its expectations to reflect today’s more commercially marginal multi-channel age. Around the UK, local documentary departments are closing, jobs are disappearing and regional news will soon all but vanish. One must wonder how much longer those twinkling stars have left in local TV heaven.

By Patrick Muirhead

First published in The Times, 19th January, 2005.


Promise to hold Public Inquiry Broken

In this posting I re-produce a press-statement issued today by the Jersey Care Leavers Association. They are responding to the news that the Jersey government has betrayed its promise to hold a public inquiry into the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster.

I’ve often written on this blog that power in Jersey is corrupted, out-of-control, not subject to any functioning checks and balances and that the public have no means of holding the authorities to account.

Sadly – the evidence for that being so just keeps on accumulating.

There are certain immutable facts; for example – the fact that Jersey’s entire system of public administration failed – for decades – to protect vulnerable children in its care from suffering the most monstrous cruelties and abuse. Only now – forty years too late – have some of the abusers been convicted. Not one single part of Jersey’s public authority ever did the right thing, until recent times. On the contrary – the evidence is overwhelming that those working within the child “protection” apparatus – pro-actively defended each other from scrutiny and accountability.

What conclusion must we draw about the standard of governance in Jersey – given that there is no other administration in the western, democratic world that would avoid a public inquiry into such matters?

Given that all of the relevant parts of Jersey’s public administration so disastrously failed – and given that so many of the culpable individuals found mutual cause in covering things up – can we really be surprised that the island’s government now refuses to establish a public inquiry?

Back in the early part of 2007, when I was Health & Social Services Minister – I became the first and only Jersey politician to recognise what was going wrong – to investigate it – and to seek to combat it. I wanted to establish an independent external investigation back then into the failure of Jersey’s child “protection” apparatus. I mentioned that fact when answering a question in the island’s parliament.

The response of the Jersey oligarchy was to have me sacked – for “undermining staff morale”.

Given that the Jersey oligarchy – even then – preferred to become the only jurisdiction on the face of the planet to sack a Social Services Minister for trying to protect vulnerable children – we can’t – sadly – be that surprised that the last thing they want to do is hold a public inquiry into just how it was that so many children were subjected to so much abuse by the Jersey government.

It is increasingly clear that the legal actions I’m attempting to take forward represent the last chance survivors have of getting to the truth of the failures and cover-ups by Jersey’s public authorities.

In the meantime – we should all share in the sense of anger and betrayal felt by the survivors.

And we should all be asking ourselves the question, ‘if – even now – our government can’t behave honestly and ethically over such an important matter – just what malfeasances and other failures are they hiding?’




It is with the utmost dismay that we hear today that the Council of Ministers has reneged on a promise made in 2008 to hold a full Committee of Enquiry into the Historical Abuse enquiry.

This really has to be the final straw for us, and the anger felt towards the Council of Ministers over this decision is beyond comprehension.

Time and again we have been let down by the States of Jersey, from our childhood right through to this very sad day.

Contrary to what Senator Le Sueur has implied, there has been NO consultation with the JCLA over this; indeed we seem to be the least important people in all this. However may we make it quite clear that we demand a full and public enquiry that was promised into all this, and nothing less will suffice.

Senator Le Sueur has stressed that such an enquiry will be costly and not be of any benefit at this moment in time. What was costly was the expense of ‘rubbishing’ the enquiry and the reputations of Mr Power and Mr Harper who were so supportive of us, and replacing them with Messrs Warcup and Gradwell who took approximately 71 days to entirely ‘trash’ the investigation, and sabotage the abuse enquiry. May we remind you that Mr. Harper and his team acted on information they received from both the survivors and witnesses, had they not acted, they would have been held accountable.

This broken promise means that again we feel abused – not in the physical or sexual ways that we encountered in States care, but emotionally inasmuch as we have been ignored and cast aside once more.

The lack of caring and the clear intention of the Council of Ministers to not bring closure to this matter, means that exactly the opposite will happen and the public will still have grave misgivings about the whole handling of this affair and the now so transparent cover-up of the historic child abuse investigation.

There is no justification for this decision at all.

Carrie Modral

Chair JCLA