“23 February 2008
Examined JAR/6. Recovered from Context 011 Trench 3. Degraded fragment of bone thought to be human skull, probably from a child (see full inventory for details). Associated with mixed debris including animal bone, buttons and a leather “thong”. Discussed findings with SIO Lenny HARPER and Forensic Manager Vicky COUPLAND. It was decided that the bone should be sent for C14 dating*.”
Diane Simon, Mick Gradwell, and David Warcup have all said that I was told the next day that the context of the area I found pre-dated the enquiry. This is simply not true. The fragment was found under the stairs in Trench 3. Anyone who thinks that the inch by inch, painstaking, search conducted on their knees by the Archaeologists and Anthropologists took only one day knows nothing about this sort of work. Page 2 of the Anthropologists worksheet shows that they were still working on Trench 3 on 6th March and were still working under the stairs on 20th March. It was sometime around then that the work on this context was completed and we were told that the context meant the fragment was probably too old to be important to the enquiry. We then immediately ruled it out of our enquiry. Further confirmation of this is given on Page 16 of the Worksheet when the Anthropologist Julie Roberts made the entry reproduced below. This entry was made on 9th April and refers to the 8th April. Note what she says in the entry because it totally contradicts what Gradwell, Warcup, and Simon say. For instance, where she says “now that the phasing of the area under the stairs has been completed,”. This would certainly seem to contradict the information given to the media by Gradwell and Warcup that it had been completed as early as the 24 February.
“9 April 2008
On 8 April 2008 I read the C14 dating results relating to JAR/6. The report stated that the fragment was too degraded to obtain a date. The fragment can however be dated by archaeological context now that the phasing of the area under the stairs has been completed. JAR/6 was found in Context 003, Trench 3. This Context is thought to belong to the earliest phase of the building, phase 1, which has been dated to the Victorian period. It certainly predates the 1940’s aggregate 008.
On 8 and 9 April 2008 I re-examined JAR/6. Since I initially examined the fragment it had dried out considerably and changed in colour, texture and weight. These changes caused me to reconsider my initial observation that the fragment was human bone, although I cannot reach a definite conclusion without conducting further chemical analysis. I reported my findings to Forensic Manager Vicky COUPLAND and SIO Lenny HARPER and we discussed a number of options regarding how to proceed with the fragment. Our conclusion was that as the fragment had been found in the pre 1940’s phase of the building, no further work would be conducted on it.”
So on the 9th of April 2008 Anthropologist Julie Roberts made the above entry.
Right, now David Rose in his article reproduced by Rooney says
On February 24, a day after Mr Harper made Haut de la Garenne an international byword for infamy by announcing his team had found the 'partial remains of a child' who might have been murdered, forensic scientists warned him that the so-called remains - allegedly a fragment of a child's skull - were so old as to be 'beyond the parameters of the investigation'
So we have email evidence to counter the above
Now there is this email exchange that could answer the question
On 28th March we received an e-mail from a Ms Brock at the Laboratory in relation to the fragment. Here are some excerpts from the e-mail.
“Hi Vicky. Here are the details of the Jersey skull as discussed on the phone earlier. As I said, the chemistry of this bone is extremely unusual – nothing I am familiar with.”
“During the first acid washes we often get a lot of fizzing as the mineral dissolves. The Jersey skull didn’t fizz at all, which suggested that preservation was poor, and which led me to test the nitrogen content of the bone.”
“The Jersey skull had 0.60 nitrogen, which suggested that it contained virtually no collagen. Once we had this result, Tom phoned you and told you it would be unlikely that we could date the sample, but that we would continue with the pre-treatment just in case.”
“Very surprisingly, the sample yielded 1.6% collagen (our cut off for dating is 1%).”
“As there is no nitrogen it cannot contain collagen unless it is highly degraded. The chances are it is highly contaminated and any date we get for it might not be accurate. I have e-mailed the director and asked if we should proceed with a date.”
SO NOW FOR THE COCNUT
Now, if you look at that e-mail, it makes clear a number of things. Firstly, they, the experts on dating, are not sure they can date it. Secondly, they make it clear they have found more than enough collagen (only found in mammals) to date the fragment, but then change their mind again and say it is too badly degraded. Also, note the use of the terms ‘skull’ and ‘bone.’ If the experts cannot be sure on 28th March, how can anyone say that I knew on 24th February? On 31st March, Ms Brock e-mailed again. In this e-mail, headed, “Re: Jersey Skull for C14 Dating,” she said that ‘the Director had now expressed concern about what the fragment was. The Technician (who is not an Anthropologist) who was carrying out the process commented that it ‘looked like a coconut husk.’ She went on to say “If it isn’t bone I am really sorry,” but then finishes with “although it could well have been poorly preserved bone as I described it.”
So has a Whole historic Child Abuse investigation been trashed because "The Technician said it looked liked a COCONUT HUSK" just crazy
I would like to say a very big thanks to Spartacus & Rooney for bringing this up. I never new where the term came from now im SHOCKED
This is from Lenny Harper
The above is only part of the information that I was given by the Anthropologists. It gives a vastly different picture to that supplied by Mr. Gradwell and Mr. Warcup and so enthusiastically promoted by Ms. Simon. These entries, made at the time by the Anthropologists, make it clear, that not only did they believe that they were finding human bones, but that the bones had been deposited there fairly recently, in some cases as recently as the 1960’s onwards. Reading the above, could anyone say that the dig at HDLG was a waste of time and money? Where do they get the conclusion that only one human bone was found? More puzzling perhaps, how can Mr. Gradwell or Mr. Warcup claim that I should not have authorised the search at HDLG? The problem was not identifying the bones as human – the expert Anthropologists did that very well. The problem was the contradictions in the carbon dating process which is not that reliable. When we questioned the company who pioneered the process we used they told us that they had taken a live fish out of the sea and carbon dated it several days later. The process told them the fish was thousands of years old. Our Anthropologist told us a similar story about a baby found dead in a house. Although they knew the baby had only been dead since the 1970s, the carbon dating gave a vastly different date. The carbon dating was at odds with the respected expert in the UK who said the bones were only a few decades old. Who was correct? More importantly, why did Mr. Gradwell and Mr. Warcup make no mention of all of this and why quote only selectively from the above document. The document is not being revealed here for the first time. Messrs Gradwell and Warcup quoted from it, albeit selectively, and the Sunday Times also referred to it. What it does do is completely and utterly destroy the suggestion that I exaggerated or lied about what I was told. It will make you wonder though why Mr. Gradwell should say that the dig was a waste of time and money.
Now for Mick Gradwell he says
Now, a bluff, straightforward and extremely experienced Lancashire detective, Det Supt Mick Gradwell, who had taken over the investigation after Mr Harper retired in August, was telling them that most of what they had been told about Haut de la Garenne and Mr Harper's £4.5million inquiry was nonsense.
'There are no credible allegations of murder, there are no suspects for murder,' Mr Gradwell said, and neither was there a scrap of evidence that there had ever been any victims.