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Digital copy of Witness 236's witness statement to the Inquiry providing an account of their experiences during their time at Sacré Coeur Orphanage and Haut de la Garenne. [Some details redacted]. Undated [11 December 2014].
December 11th 2014 - December 11th 2014
|Scope and Content|
Background and Home Life Gives details of background and early years. Born in 1948. Gives details about relationships with mother, siblings and man presumed by Witness 236 to be his natural father. Refers to serious accident brother was involved in whilst in care. Recollections of father’s [suicide attempt] and actions of police. Recollections of separation from mother and siblings. Notes that Witness 236, his brother and baby sister were subsequently taken to Sacré Coeur and [older] brother sent to Haut de la Garenne. Recalls disappearance of sister after one week at Sacré Coeur, and subsequently losing contact with her for 30 years. Institutions Includes references to their time at Sacré Coeur Orphanage, Haut de la Garenne, New Street School, Halkett Place School and St Saviour’s School. Sent to Sacré Coeur aged 4 in early 1950s. Recollections of the property, mentioning the crèche and separate boys’ and girls’ dormitories. Descriptions of life at Sacré Coeur, giving details of daily routine mentioning religious obligations, discipline, facilities and quality of food. Includes recollections of staff including nuns and priests. Provides an estimate of the number of children in residence at Sacré Coeur whilst at the orphanage. Recollections of Christmas at the orphanage and of day trips to Gorey or Grouville Bay. Refers to chores, mentioning work in the knitwear shop at Summerland [House] and work as punishment. Gives details of night-time at Sacré Coeur, noting supervision by nuns. Gives details about experiences at school. Mentions bullying by other children citing being at Sacré Coeur as a major factor. Recollections of teachers. Compares life at school to that at the orphanage. Recalls no medical staff at Sacré Coeur, only ever remembering seeing a nurse at school. Moved to Haut de la Garenne aged 13. Includes details about the property, comments on daily routine and recollections of other children, referring to former residents of Sacré Coeur who were also at Haut de la Garenne. Also includes recollections of staff at the home mentioning [Superintendent] Mr [Colin] Tilbrook and [head of sport] Mr Maggs. Left Haut de la Garenne aged 15 and taken to a [boys’] hostel. Recalls being at the hostel for less than year. Memories of seeing people at the hostel who had abused him whilst at Haut de la Garenne. Recollections of the property, staff and other children in residence. Includes an estimate of the number of boys living at the hostel. Discharged from care aged 16. Comments on disappearance of children whilst at Sacré Coeur and Haut de la Garenne. Children’s Services Comments on accuracy of information with respect to the dates that Witness 236 and his siblings are listed as having been at Sacré Coeur in his Children’s Services client file [Exhibit 2: C/D/AW1/A3/18/WD002036/2]. Disputes information in records relating to Witness 236 and his siblings being baptised at St Thomas’ [Church], stating that they were instead baptism in the chapel at Sacré Coeur. Refers to children at Sacré Coeur being adopted, mentioning a lack of oversight or supervision by staff at Children’s Services in this process. Comments on lack of awareness of who was responsible for him whilst in care. Discusses lack of support provided to children when living at hostel with respect to securing employment. Also describes a lack of follow-up and support provided by Children’s Services or the States of Jersey in general after leaving the hostel, mentioning Mr [Charles] Smith. Names Smith as his Child Care Officer, recalling only ever seeing him twice: when being transferred from Sacré Coeur to Haut de la Garenne, and then again from Haut de la Garenne to the hostel. Comments on the administration and organisation of Sacré Coeur, highlighting the role of the Church in lieu of the States of Jersey. Also provides comments on specific incidents and events recorded in his Health and Social Services Records [Exhibit 1: C/D/AW1/A3/18/WD002036/1]. Comments on information contained within these documents relating to: Case History; medical records; contact with father whilst at Sacré Coeur and Haut de la Garenne; contact with a woman; incidents involving Mr Tilbrook; contact with a man named as Witness 236’s godfather; contact with [Children’s Officer] [C A] Smith; relationship with brother; and attendance at St Thomas’ Youth Club. Argues that some information contained within these records is inaccurate, offensive or missing, suspecting possible tampering by or collusion between Mr Smith and Mr Tilbrook. Abuse and Consequences Gives details of neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse and neglect by nuns whilst in residence at Sacré Coeur. Comments on contrast of the quality of food provided for staff to that of the children in residence. Recollections of stealing when hungry in order to buy food. Recalls retaliating to physical abuse by nun after getting caught eating food bought with stolen money. Cites incident as immediate cause for removal from Sacré Coeur. Refers to incidents of physical abuse and possible sexual abuse by children towards other children in dormitory during the night Sacré Coeur. Recalls incident involving a dead nun at Sacré Coeur, subsequently running away and being subject to physical abuse upon being returned to the orphanage by police. Describes witnessing a boy falling over the bannister at the top of the staircase at Sacré Coeur whilst mopping the stairs, commenting on claims later made by the boy that a nun had pushed him. Descriptions of sexual abuse by a male member of staff at Sacré Coeur. Recalls incident whereby a group of boys including Witness 236 confronted the man only for some boys to be physically abused by him. Also recalls physical abuse by nuns in the aftermath of incident and lack of consequences for the alleged abuser. Recollections of sexual and physical abuse by a man in lessons on Sundays in a large complex attached to an open sports area at Sacré Coeur and at the man’s flat at the orphanage. States sexual abuse by the man happened to three children including Witness 236, and that there was a wider knowledge of abuse. Comments on possible consequences of abuse, mentioning suicide by one of the boys abused. Refers to [suicide] of another boy at annual summer fête at Sumerland in August and subsequent lack of police support and investigation. Descriptions of punishment at Sacré Coeur. Mentions physical abuse by nun when walking through town to beg for money, referencing physical symptoms including bruising. Describes the boot room at the orphanage as a punishment room, mentioning frequent physical abuse by form of corporal punishment therein. Recollections of being made to pull a harrow in a vegetable plot as punishment for misbehaviour. Recollection of sexual abuse by a female member of staff at Haut de la Garenne and reaction of the woman to send Witness 236 to Mr Tilbrook [Superintendent]. Gives details of subsequent physical abuse by Tilbrook, citing weals as physical symptoms. Gives details of possible sexual abuse against children at fancy dress parties attended by Haut de la Garenne staff including Mr Tilbrook and Mr Maggs. Descriptions of neglect, emotional abuse and physical abuse by Maggs. Comments on emotional abuse by other children whilst in residence at Haut de la Garenne. Recalls conversation at St Saviour’s School with older brother who had since left Haut de la Garenne, noting belief that brother had been abused whilst at the home. Recollections of going to the police station near the Town Hall in St Helier to report abuse experienced at Haut de la Garenne, and response of police to dismiss complaints. Events since leaving Care Recalls being taken out of the hostel by Children’s Services to lodge at the place where he had lived before being taken into care. Gives details of meeting former residents of Haut de la Garenne and Sacré Coeur after leaving care, mentioning the suicide of one former resident. Also refers to arrests for racially-aggravated assault. Moved to the United Kingdom aged 18 with brother to search for mother. Discusses enquiries to find [brother] in Jersey and subsequent attempts to have him released from care. Refers to period living with mother in the United Kingdom, mentioning stealing and problems with alcohol. Discusses moving away from the United Kingdom for a period of 10 or 11 years, returning in 1982. Recollections of visiting Sacré Coeur whilst on holiday in Jersey in the 1970s with mother-in-law and wife, receiving an apology from a nun at the orphanage. Refers to response of mother-in-law and wife to describe the orphanage as a prison upon seeing it. Recalls going back a second time to discover that the property had been demolished and an ambulance station and police station built on the former Sacré Coeur site. Gives details about publishing a book under a pseudonym that he co-authored to provide an account of his experiences as a child in care. Comments on the writing and drafting process, mentioning frustration with respect to embellishment of events referred to in the book. Comments on impact of experiences with respect to resentment towards and trust of authority, alcoholism, involvement in crime and mental health. Refers to conviction of two criminal offences relating to children. Recalls conversations with other people who were sexually abused whilst in care. Refers to one individual taking the decision to confront Maggs about abuse suffered at Haut de la Garenne two years after leaving the shome. Suspects [brother] also suffered abuse whilst in care and impact experiences had on him, citing [brother’s] compulsive hoarding. Refers to successful attempts to get into contact with sister. Statement finishes with reflections of Witness 236’s on the care system in Jersey. Refers to need for better safeguards to be put in place to protect children. Includes negative assessment of Children’s Services with respect to lack of support and absence of Child Care Officer to whom to report concerning issues including abuse. Reiterates impact of time in care on Witness 236 and siblings.
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