Paedophile ring 'operated in Jersey', hears inquiry

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image captionA paedophile ring operated in Jersey, according to man who claims he was abused

The first evidence of an alleged paedophile ring operating in Jersey during the 1970s has been heard by the island's Independent Care Inquiry.

A statement given to police in 2008 by a former resident of Haut de la Garenne children's home was read on Wednesday.

The man, referred to as witness 138, claimed Jeff Le Marquand, who owned a clothing shop in Jersey, told him he supplied children to well-known people.

The witness was at the former children's home between 1970 and 1972.

Paul Livingston, counsel to the inquiry, said this was the first time the inquiry had head evidence of a paedophile ring in Jersey.

'Desperate and naive'

A statement by the witness said in 1972 at the age of 15 he was allowed to leave the home and started sleeping rough.

He said he was "desperate, young and naive" and accepted an offer of a room with a friend of Mr Le Marquand, but left after about three months because he "refused to take any more disgusting abuse".

The witness said Mr Le Marquand, who has since died, told him he supplied children from Haut de la Garenne and elsewhere in the island to well-known people.

He also described being sexually abused by female members of staff at Haut de la Garenne.

The hearing, which is investigating child abuse in Jersey's care system since 1945, continues.

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