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Digital copy of Witness 452's witness statement to the Inquiry providing an account of her experiences at home and in Care at Westaway Crèche and Haut de la Garenne. [Some details redacted].
October 12th 2015 - October 12th 2015
|Scope and Content|
Background and Home Life Refers to birth in Jersey dated 1953, mentioning mother’s children from previous marriage, and mother’s illness when Witness 452 was a baby. Refers to care by Witness 452’s aunt, who struggled due to her own pregnancy. Recalls fear upon meeting fathers, and hiding behind pillars in a room on the ground floor of Westaway Crèche during their meeting. Describes abusive and neglectful behaviour by Witness 452’s father to Witness 452 and her mother following Witness 452’s discharge from Westaway Crèche. Does not recall the Police attending the family home due to Witness 452’s father’s violence. Refers to violent and manipulative behaviour by her younger brother; recalls father sleeping with a gun under his pillow and scaring Witness 452 with the gun. Refers to incident involving Witness 452’s father in 1962 due to which the Police attended, and Witness 452’s father spent the night in prison. Recalls father arriving home as Witness 452 watched a bulletin about her father’s arrest on the news, and an incident occurring between Witness 452 and her father due to which a neighbour contacted the Police. Comments on withdrawal from the family home by Police, and arrival at Haut de la Garenne at the age of 9. Refers to death of mother when Witness 452 was 12, and describes the lack of emotions felt by Witness 452. Institutions Refers to admission to Westaway Crèche as a young baby, remaining there until the age of 7 when she returned to the care of her parents. Recalls babies being placed in their prams on a balcony at Westaway Crèche so that the babies could experience fresh air. Refers to States of Jersey Medical records citing that between 1953 and 1966 Witness 452 had pneumonia twice. Describes feeling daunted upon her arrival at Haut de la Garenne in 1962. Recalls her placement in the junior dormitory, and provides details of her houseparents. Comments on differing relationships with her houseparents. Names [Superintendent] Mr [Colin] Tilbrook, and refers to [Colin] Tilbrook’s assertion that Witness 452 was his favourite. Recalls female residents being invited to [Colin] Tilbrook’s department for drinks and cake. Shares recollections of a male member of staff described as a pervert. Refers to discipline at Haut de la Garenne, and punishments employed by staff in relation to smoking. Recalls cleaning corridors with a toothbrush as a form of punishment. Provides details of her friends at Haut de la Garenne, mentioning instances of abscondence and Witness 452’s experiences in the Girl Guides. Recalls catching the bus into town, visiting a bakery, and moving into a squatters’ house for several days during which they smoked and chatted. Comments on situation where a friend suggested some boys could buy more candles and cigarettes for the Witness 452 and her friends, and the boys asked for sexual intercourse in return. Refers to Witness 452’s refusal to allow the exchange, in comparison to her two friends. Describes being returned to Haut de la Garenne with her friends, and recalls the three being examined in relation to possible sexual intercourse. Regrets bullying another girl at Haut de la Garenne. Recalls playing billiards with her first boyfriend in the recreation room at Haut de la Garenne. Disputes allegation that Witness 452 fought with a houseparents. Notes that residents at Haut de la Garenne could be adopted or fostered by individuals visiting Haut de la Garenne. States that Witness 452 did not want to be fostered or adopted due to her previous negative experiences at home and at Westaway Crèche. Recalls action taken by Witness 452 to prevent adoptive parents taking an interest in her, mentioning hiding in the bunkers near Haut de la Garenne. Recalls punishment and return to Haut de la Garenne after the daughter of a family considering Witness 452 for adoption framed Witness 452 for theft. Details friendship with the daughter of an individual Witness 452 lived with whilst at Haut de la Garenne. Mentions playing ‘models’ and ‘rock stars’ with the daughter, and going into the town and seaside to spend time with bikers. Recalls that the individual lived in a block of flats on a housing estate. Refers to visitors at Haut de la Garenne such as Jimmy Savile and the Haut de la Garenne Board of Governors. Refers to [Patricia] Thornton’s decision to place Witness 452 in a family unit following Witness 452’s mother’s death, and Witness 452’s placement in a unit near to Witness 452’s father’s family. Describes placement as depressing, mentioning accommodation with father’s older sister and enrolment at a local school where Witness 452 was bullied by other children. Wrote a letter to [Patricia] Thornton describing her sadness and difficulties with her mental health due to her experiences in her placement. Recalls visit by [Patricia] Thornton and obtaining father’s permission for Witness 452 to leave the placement. Returned to Jersey with [Patricia] Thornton at the age of 14, and was placed in a hostel. Refers to [Patricia] Thornton’s approach to a member of the Haut de la Garenne Board of Governors about a family who owned a [business], leading to Witness 452’s apprenticeship and training as a hairdresser, and her qualification as a hairdresser five years later. Social Services Describes Child Care Officer [Children’s Officer] Patricia Thornton. Did not report abuse to [Patricia] Thornton due to their level of contact, Witness 452’s reluctance to report abuse, and her concerns complaints of abuse would not be believed. States confidence that if [Patricia] Thornton had been aware of abuse, she would have prevented abuse occurring. Does not recall being aware of Case Conferences taking place, stating that Witness 452 was not involved in decisions regarding her care. Suggests that if Case Conferences were held at Haut de la Garenne, they were held in private without her knowledge. Abuse and Consequences Refers to father’s physical abuse of mother, and father’s emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of Witness 452. Refers to sexual abuse of Witness 452 by some of her father’s friends, and two men living near to her family home. Refers to incident of physical abuse by father, and the discovery of Witness 452’s father in Witness 452’s room with a knife later that evening, during which he threatened to harm Witness 452. Recalls missing PE [Physical Education] lessons at school in order to prevent her bruises caused by her father’s abuse being revealed. Refers to medical records stating Witness 452 disclosed abuse by her father to a Doctor. States that she is unaware if action was taken against her father following her reporting of abuse. Comments on failure of authorities to take action on abuse reported by Witness 452 at a young age resulted in her reluctant to report later abuse to those in positions of authority. Details sexual abuse of residents at Haut de la Garenne by staff, and the attempted sexual abuse of Witness 452. Reflects on inability to show emotion or enjoy sexual relationships due to emotional, physical and sexual abuse sustained as a child. Refers to attempted sexual abuse of Haut de la Garenne residents by Jimmy Savile. Events since leaving Care Left the Care system at the age of 16 to live in a YMCA [Young Men’s Christian Association] hostel, before moving to an independent living building and own bedsit. Refers to a record confirming Witness 452’s transfer from the Education Committee Minutes of a meeting held on 14 April 1971. Comments on enjoyable first experiences of living independently, mentioning the invitation of friends over, and the continued support of [Patricia] Thornton. Provides other details of live after Care. Refers to letter received from Children’s Services dated 22 May 1998 regarding Witness 452’s request to Children’s Services for information about her time spent in Care. States that Witness 452’s Social Services records have not been provided or made available to the Inquiry. Refers to contact with [States of Jersey] Police dated 1 August 2008, mentioning an Officer’s Report and Witness 452’s reluctance to talk about her experiences. Comments on long term consequences of abuse such as depression and anxiety and other health conditions. Refers to the birth of her son. Refers to difficulty speaking to the Inquiry. Comments on uncertainty as to the circumstances of friends at Haut de la Garenne, mentioning her understanding both friends live in Jersey with children of their own. Speculates on possibility Witness 452 may be one of a few children [in Care] who has been able to leave Jersey and make a good life for herself.
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