Beast of Jersey falsely accused Alphonse Le Gastelois dies

Alphonse Le Gastelois
Image caption Alphonse Le Gastelois died on Sunday at the age of 97

A man who went into exile after being falsely accused of sex crimes in Jersey in the 1960s has died aged 97.

Alphonse Le Gastelois lived on a tiny reef for 14 years after being the target of a hate campaign.

Jersey Police arrested Mr Le Gastelois in 1960 while hunting for a serial sex offender nicknamed the Beast of Jersey.

After 14 hours of questioning they found nothing to connect him to the attacks on women and children.

But his name was released to the press and he became the subject of a hate campaign in Jersey.

He was forced to flee to Ecrehous, a tiny reef between Jersey and France, and only returned when the real offender, Edward Paisnel, was caught and sentenced.

'Quick to judge'

In 1999, the States agreed to pay Mr Le Gastelois £20,000 in compensation.

Jean Le Maistre was a States member at the time, and voted in favour of giving him the money.

He said: "I think there was a genuine concern of injustice that had been done and it was probably a token of support to redress the injustice.

"Whether the figure was right I'm not sure... for him it would have been a lot of money and it would have gone some way to say sorry on behalf of the community."

Mr Le Maistre added: "I think as time passes we tend to forget what the level of concern and fear was at that time.

"There were a number of stories circulating of how youngsters who had been assaulted in their bedrooms, with an individual breaking into the house without waking parents.

"This went on for years and this is why perhaps Alphonse had the finger pointed at him and the community were very quick to judge."

Mr Le Gastelois died on Sunday at the age of 97. His family said he would be sadly missed.

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