Jean Neil said writing her book gave her the courage to speak out about the abuse
A former resident of a girls’ home has told the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry girls were repeatedly sedated and raped there in the 1940s and 50s.
Jean Neil, 79, has written about her experiences in the care system in her book “Chair Bound to Heaven Bound.”
Quizzed by counsel for the inquiry Patrick Sadd, she spoke of her time at the Grouville Girls Home, later the Jersey Home for Girls.
Mrs Neil, now of Rugby, Warwickshire, said punishments were severe.
She said from about the age of eight she would be carried downstairs and injected by members of staff. She said this also happened to other girls.
‘You couldn’t struggle’
“They would say ‘we need to give you an injection’ when they took us from our bed and we would say ‘what is it for?’ and would be told to mind our own business.”
The injection would leave them dazed but not completely knocked out, she said.
Mrs Neil said: “You were in a state where you had no ability to struggle. There was one occasion – and I don’t know if the injection hadn’t worked properly – I distinctly remember people having sex with me after I had been injected.
“I do not know who it was but I know I was raped and there were other people there.”
She said after this all happened they would be told “whatever we thought had happened or whatever we remember happening had not happened.”
Mrs Neil said the rapes started when she was about eight and happened every couple of months until she was about 11 or 12 and that senior members of staff would be present.
She talked about a number of punishments for a range of offences, including swearing, stealing apples or playing with boys from school.
- Wetting the bed would lead to girls being beaten with stinging nettles and rubbed with the wet sheets.
- They would also be made to go to sleep naked with stinging nettles under them.
- Girls would be submerged in an ice bath fully-clothed and only released when they gasped for breath.
- There would be weekly public beatings in the yard for the worst-behaved girls.
Mrs Neil said when they first arrived at the home, aged six, the girls were told their tongues would be cut out if they told anyone of anything that happened to them.
The inquiry, which is investigating allegations of historical abuse in the island’s care system from 1945 to the present day, continues.