NOTES FROM MEDIA BRIEFING OUTSIDE HAUT DE LA GARENNE ON WEDNESDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2008
We can confirm that this morning, we have gained partial access to the cellar. The forensic expert has examined it very briefly.
The dog has gone into the cellar and as a result, has had a ˜strong' reaction.
It would appear that the cellar is as the victims said it was “ there is some corroboration. Witnesses have said the cellar was ˜very dark.'
There is another bricked up room in addition to this cellar.
We will spend the rest of the afternoon looking at it with the forensic team and it will be a long job.
A sift of the rubble starts tomorrow.
There was an object found in the cellar, but we cannot confirm the item/s found in there at the moment.
When we are talking about what the dog reacted to, we must remember there could be an innocent explanation. The dog did react in the cellar.
We do not know why the cellar was bricked up.
We have had people working in that cellar today.
The working conditions for the team are very difficult. All the debris in that cellar will have to be carried out, and we have to work out how to get it out.
The size of the cellar is still unknown but a rough look at it (as a first impression) suggests 12 feet x 12 feet.
The cellar d"s match the description given by some of the victims we have interviewed.
We will not confirm what the object in the cellar was as this could affect evidence people give us. We have not found any furniture yet. The room though, is not empty. It needs a thorough examination.
We have detailed plans of the property.
Regarding the remains we have found, those will take at least two weeks to date and test.
The working conditions for our team are pretty unpleasant. We now need to get light into the cellar, which is around 3 to 4 feet below ground.
We will not work through the night; we are a small team and we have to make sure people take adequate rest.
We have never doubted that the people who contacted us are telling the truth.
Over 70 people have phoned our dedicated historical abuse inquiry team since the weekend.
Over 200 people (victims and witnesses in total) have now come forward. These were traumatic events in their lives and some people have never spoken about them before. We are ensuring appropriate support is made available through them through the NSPCC. We have had very good support from the NSPCC.
We are still treating the site as a crime scene.
We are working operationally and outside of any political controversy. We have been given full support from Jersey's government and additional support if necessary.
There is no time scale for how long this will take.
We initially used ground penetrating radar when we started our excavations at Haut de la Garenne and we may use this again once the cellar is clear.
We do not believe the alleged abusers (suspects) were an organised ring.
We have always been confident that there would be arrests
If you mean are we talking about members of the establishment as in people from organisations and institutions being involved, then yes, they were.
We are looking at how former Police officers handled the case.
There are two parts to this inquiry
1. The suggestion of a cover up
2. Paedophile activity
We are NOT investigating any police officers for involvement with paedophile offences.
In the past, when victims came forward, they were not treated how they would be today.
We have NO allegations that anyone died or was murdered here.
Regarding a list of missing children we do have details of some children but not a precise list.
We could be working here for days and days in the cellar.
We have tracked quite a lot of staff down who used to work here and there are allegations of others who came to the home
The dog has indicated a number of areas of interest which might link to each other reducing the number of sites.
Today our forensic examiner has been in the cellar plus Eddie the specialist dog
We do not believe that there was a total, organised paedophile ring at Haut de la Garenne. Allegations have been made against a wide spectrum of people.
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