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Digital copy of George Hamon’s statement to the Inquiry providing an account of his experiences in care at Haut de la Garenne. [Some details redacted].
November 26th 2014 - November 26th 2014
|Scope and Content|
Background and Home Life Refers to birth on Jersey dated 1951, and residence in St Helier with mother and father until the age of 9. Recalls that all his family lived nearby, with an aunt living across the road. Recalls father’s departure from the family home to live with another woman, mentioning ages of children, and mother’s attempts to look after children by herself. Notes that mother struggled for money, and that father remained in Jersey with his new partner. Recalls regular visits with father, and continuing good relationship with him. Comments that George Hamon and his siblings had more freedom after their father left the family household. Describes difficulties for mother regarding caring for children alone, mentioning help provided by George Hamon, and mother’s employment as an usher in the cinema as well as at the snack bar at the Chelsea Hotel. Comments that George Hamon would look after his siblings whilst his mother was at work, and that he would attempt to bring extra money into the household. Recalls going into the countryside from the age of 10 with friends to pick flowers to sell, as well as mentioning his work on a paper round. Comments on small size and height as a child, remarking that his height at the age of 15 when he left school may have been only 4 foot 8 inches. Provides details of circumstances leading to George Hamon’s arrival at Haut de la Garenne, mentioning shoplifting from the age of 13 in 1964 with a group of friends. Recalls stealing and selling travelling alarm clocks. Recalls visiting the Caesarea Cycling Club [Caesarea Cycling Club] with a friend, mentioning entrance to the Club through a window at the side, and thefts of money or cigarettes. Refers to paper rounds with two other individuals for Carters shop, La Columberie, owned by Centenier Embest. Comments on positive and negative experiences with members of the Honorary Police, and negative experiences with Centenier Embest. Recalls breaking into Carters with 5 others, including the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with, describing hours climbing over roofs to find the open skylight to get in to the shop. States that motivation for breaking into Carters was to sell stolen items for money, rather than due to George Hamon’s dislike of Centenier Embest. Provides details of crime, and recalls, after leaving Carters, passing a group of 6 other children, including George Hamon’s best friend’s brother and another boy known to George Hamon. Refers to belief the 6 had stolen sweets which were then thrown over St Helier. Refers to argument between one of the 6 boys and a Police Officer. Recalls walking home with individuals, including the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with, who panicked when a Police motorcyclist appeared, and was later caught by Police along with another boy, and provided details of criminal activity to Police. Recalls arrival of Police at George Hamon’s home, and his removal to the Police Station before being taken home again by his father. Recalls being summoned to the Police Station at Rouge Bouillon a week later, accompanied by mother and aunt, to be interviewed. Notes aunt’s warning not to speak to Police, and George Hamon’s decision to admit to his activity due to the Police already having record of offences committed. Appeared before the Royal Court with around 40 other children from different schools, and was convicted of theft. Notes prosecution led by the Attorney General, and varying sentences between children, mentioning warnings, probation, and sentences to live at Haut de la Garenne for three years as in the case of George Hamon. Suggests he and others may have been sentenced to live at Haut de la Garenne due to their broken homes. Suggests that he and others may have been selected to have been made an example of. States unlikelihood that a child would be sent to a children’s home for a minor shoplifting incident in the present day. Recalls being taken to Haut de la Garenne from the Royal Court, mentioning brief meeting with mother. Queries how mother coped [at home] without George Hamon’s help. Institutions Recalls education at Brighton Road Infants School, Vauxhall School, and St Helier Boys School. Refers to caning at St Helier Boys School, naming teachers he recalls using the cane. Recalls one incident in which a boy was injured by caning, and, possibly following complaints by the boy’s parents, the teacher responsible left the school. Recalls a man regularly standing at the bottom of the hill from St Helier Boys School, near a telephone box, mentioning sweets and lifts in a car offered to children by the man. Recalls incidents occurring in around 1962, when George Hamon was around 11 to 12 years old. Refers to belief a parent of a child reported the man to [States of Jersey] Police, and recalls the man being arrested by Police after being found speaking to a boy. Recalls occasion on which George Hamon sprained his ankle on the way to St Helier Boys’ School, commenting that as member of Haut de la Garenne staff did not believe him, he had to walk to school on his sprained ankle until a member of St Helier Boys School took him back to Haut de la Garenne. Was driven to Haut de la Garenne in April 1965, following appearance before the Royal Court, along with the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with, by the [Haut de la Garenne Deputy Superintendent]. Recalls that the brother of the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with already resided at Haut de la Garenne, and so therefore the friend was aware of the destination of their journey and the nature of Haut de la Garenne. Recalls the friend asking the [Haut de la Garenne Deputy Superintendent] if it would be possible to go to the pictures that evening, and the [Haut de la Garenne Deputy Superintendent’s] joke that the friend would need his sense of humour whilst at Haut de la Garenne. Arrived at Haut de la Garenne at the age of 14, mentioning a lecture given by Superintendent [Colin] Tilbrook. Estimates around 70 to 80 children resident at Haut de la Garenne, divided into Junior, Intermediate, and Senior groups. Recalls placement in the Senior group. Provides details of chores completed by children at Haut de la Garenne, mentioning older boys helping Junior boys to get dressed and into bed, and help provided in the kitchen. Provides description of Haut de la Garenne, mentioning lounges, televisions, snooker tables, a dining room, car park, grass, and fields. Recalls playing with other boys under Haut de la Garenne, accessing the area through trap doors on the ground floor. Describes life at Haut de la Garenne, mentioning positive and negative aspects. Recalls punishments for misbehaviour as being instructed to stand in a corner and face a wall. States that he was never caned or physically abused, and did not witness other children being caned or physically abused at Haut de la Garenne. Recalls jokes made by the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with regarding caning. Recalls being caned at school for poor grades, and subsequent non-corporal punishment at Haut de la Garenne such as polishing a corridor, overseen by Colin Tilbrook or the Deputy Superintendent. Refutes allegations of abuse made regarding Colin Tilbrook in the media, recalling Colin Tilbrook’s encouragement of George Hamon. Recalls punishment of cutting the grass at Haut de la Garenne, overseen by the Deputy Superintendent. Believes that records were kept of punishments at Haut de la Garenne, and suggests that the Inquiry should be able to access the records. Provides recollections of staff, mentioning Superintendent Colin Tilbrook, and the Deputy Superintendent who lived on site with another individual. Refers to staff overseeing the Senior Group, Intermediate Group, and Junior groups, as well as staff who oversaw cleaning and cooking duties. Names [George] Mallinson as a member of staff who would take children down to Anne Port to swim. Recalls that the Deputy Superintendent enjoyed fishing and would take George Hamon, the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with, and two others with him to Rozel early in the morning before the Deputy Superintendent returned to Haut de la Garenne for his shift. Provides descriptions of other Haut de la Garenne residents, mentioning individuals who had previously been placed at Sacre Coeur Orphanage. Notes that the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with was placed in the Seniors group, whilst the brother of the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with was placed in the Intermediate group. Refers to ongoing friendships with some Haut de la Garenne residents. Notes that the majority of other children resident at Haut de la Garenne were resident due to parental difficulties rather than misbehaviour. States that the brother of the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with would occasionally act out, mentioning occasion on which he barricaded himself in the dining room, before being placed in a room to calm himself down. Mentions that the brother would leave Haut de la Garenne at the weekends to stay with an individual and his wife in a fostering arrangement. Does not recall children being taken out of Haut de la Garenne except by staff, family, or foster parents. States that his mother would visit him each week, and would also speak to the brother of the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with. Recalls individuals visiting Haut de la Garenne, and mentions a former resident being aware of some Haut de la Garenne children being offered lifts by people outside of the home back to Haut de la Garenne after school. Refers to a holiday in Sark, mentioning the States of Jersey tugboat. Recalls camping before staying at the Stocks Hotel due to a storm. Recalls meeting John Perry who would let George Hamon and others ride horses. States that as a result of the holiday, George Hamon’s relationship with two members of staff improved dramatically. Refers to part time employment whilst at Haut de la Garenne, mentioning peeling potatoes in a fish shop and a paper round for a local newsagent. Left school at the age of 15, entering into full time employment in carpentry, painting, and decorating with a friend, and necessitating in his departure from Haut de la Garenne before the end of this 3 year sentence. Events since leaving Care Remained in contact with the Probation Service for another year after leaving Haut de la Garenne, attending the Probation Office each week to discuss progress. Moved to work with his father’s friend, a man named Ron, in a wrought iron business for up to 8 years. Lost driving license at the age of 18 following a crash. Was reported to Police for driving the repaired car whilst disqualified from driving, and was sentenced to two weeks in prison by the Court. Refers to mother checking Jersey Evening Post for others who had been sentenced to prison for driving whilst disqualified. Refers to the brother of the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with committing suicide, mentioning the brother’s placement with foster parents. Recalls hearing that the parents of the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with left the island afterwards. Discusses rumours regarding Haut de la Garenne, as heard from his father’s two cousins who were at Haut de la Garenne in the 1940s and 1950s, mentioning physical abuse and a lack of staff. Recalls being informed that his father’s cousins telling George Hamon to walk down to the Girls’ Home [Jersey Home for Girls] once a week for showers or baths. States that no sexual abuse was mentioned. Discusses suggestions in the media that children disappeared from Haut de la Garenne. Does not recall his happening whilst George Hamon was at Haut de la Garenne, but refers to children removed from Jersey from adoption, mentioning the younger brother of his father’s cousins, illness, States of Jersey, and Westaway Creche. States that around the Second World War, the younger brother of the cousins was removed from Westaway Creche. Refers to family’s attempts to locate the younger brother, mentioning Vernon Tomes, and the later discovery of the younger brother who had been taken overseas for adoption. Provides details of the treatment of children at Sacre Coeur, as reported to George Hamon by children who had lived there, and as a result of George Hamon’s own recollections whilst living with his mother. Refers to incense during a procession, and the physical abuse of a resident by a nun. Disputes allegations made about Haut de la Garenne in the media. States that he has stopped reading the Jersey Evening Post due to contents regarding Haut de la Garenne, and comments on reports made by States of Jersey Police. Disputes the discovery of human remains at Haut de la Garenne. Refers to a friend visiting Haut de la Garenne after the children’s home and closed, but before the beginning of the [States of Jersey] Police’s investigation [Operation Rectangle], mentioning the use of the property as a youth hostel. Refers to friend being instructed to walk carefully due to rotting floors, and the subsequent replacement of the floors. Queries how reliable evidence could have been found when the floors had already been taken up and replaced. Criticises investigations carried out by [States of Jersey] Police under the direction of Lenny Harper. Comments on likelihood of individuals making up allegations or behaving differently when compensation is available, and suggests that the offer of compensation has likely led to the rise in allegations of abuse. States that an individual has been contacted by others in order to support allegations of abuse unknown to the individual. Refers to allegations of abuse made by the friend George Hamon had previously entered the Caesarea Cycling Club with, also mentioning the friend’s brother. States knowledge that the friend was not abused. Refers to an individual who proved evidence regarding his experiences at Haut de la Garenne. States that he and others have no recollection of the individual at Haut de la Garenne, suggesting the individual was at a foster home instead. Comments on two female employees at Haut de la Garenne who changed their opinions about Haut de la Garenne as more allegations were made to the media. Contacted a local radio station and the Jersey Evening Post to explain his own experiences of Haut de la Garenne, and notes that the media did not get back to him, suggesting that his experiences did not fit the media narrative. Received a telephone call from [States of Jersey] Police regarding any complaints about George Hamon’s time at Haut de la Garenne. Informed the Police that he did not have complaints about his experiences, and considered allegations already made as rubbish. Confirms willingness to provide oral evidence to the Inquiry if required to do so.
Brighton Road School
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