Jersey

Jersey care inquiry: Resident 'heard boys screaming'

Haut de la Garenne building in St Martin, Jersey
Image caption Winifred Lockhart described a "kind of dungeon" at Haut de la Garenne

A former resident of the Haut de la Garenne children's home says she heard boys being taken from a dormitory screaming.

Winifred Lockhart, 70, grew up in care in the island and moved to the UK in the early 1960s, but returned to give evidence to the care inquiry.

She was first female resident of what was called the Jersey Home for Boys.

Mrs Lockhart said when she tried to speak out to senior staff she would be hit and told to stop making up stories.

Rainwater to drink

She told of her experience of living in care in the island to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, which is investigating historical abuse allegations in Jersey's care system.

Mrs Lockhart described being beaten while living with one foster family and made to wash outside while other children used a tin bath inside.

She said she regularly wet the bed, was refused drinks by her foster mother and, on one occasion, was made to sleep on straw in a shed.

Mrs Lockhart said: "She would just stop the drinks, told me I wasn't allowed a drink. I would have one [in the] early morning and that was it."

She described collecting rain in a tin can so she had something to drink.

After suffering from nits and scabies, she was taken from the foster family and sent to the Jersey Home for Girls, the inquiry was told.

After problems at the Jersey Home for Girls, where she said the head of the home regularly beat the children under her care, she was moved to the home later known as Haut de la Garenne.

Mrs Lockhart said after a few months of being in the home she started to hear boys screaming things such as "please leave me alone" in the night.

'Stop lying'

She was in a room on her own opposite a dormitory for boys aged 13 and 14. She said a number of boys were taken, but one boy in particular seemed to be singled out, the inquiry heard.

Mrs Lockhart said: "I would say to him 'he came and got you again in the night' and he would say: 'Shhh. Don't say anything'."

She said: "This used to go on quite a bit and when I used to tell them in the morning they would say stop making up stories, stop lying and they would hit me then and then they put me under psychiatrists.

"I knew I wasn't dreaming it, I knew I was telling the truth even to this day.

"I would speak to the other boys in the same dormitory and they knew what was happening and could hear.

"They wouldn't intervene because they didn't think they would be believed."

She also described a "kind of dungeon" where the boys were taken as a punishment that was known as being sent "down there".

Mrs Lockhart eventually went to live with her uncle when she was aged about 15 before moving to the UK.

The inquiry continues.

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