Brave Rugby woman speaks out about child abuse at children’s home

Jean Neil wrote a book about her experiences
Jean Neil wrote a book about her experiences

A Rugby woman who suffered years of torture and abuse at a children’s home in the south of England has spoken of her ordeal at a care inquiry.

Jean Neil, 79, told the Advertiser she was beaten with stinging nettle for wetting the bed as a toddler.

She suffered in freezing ice baths for speaking out of turn to her carers and was stripped naked and beaten for making wisecracks.

Jean, of Oliver Street, told the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry girls were repeatedly sedated and raped there in the 1940s and 50s.

“I do not know who it was but I know I was raped,” she said.

She said she suffered for years at the hands of her abusers.

Jean added: “I was beaten with stinging nettles and tortured in ice baths, I was fed dry bread and water for punishment. Sex abuse was rife in the home.”

Born in 1935, Jean was taken into the Westaway Crèche as a baby due to problems at home.

She was there until the age of six and has no memories of ill treatment there.

When she was six she was transferred to the Grouville Home for Girls, where she stayed until she was 15.

As part of a care inquiry into the Jersey home she said that during nine years there she never saw anyone from children’s services come to the home to check on the children or see how they were doing.

She described a “strong regime of punishment which got worse over time”.

Jean described how the girls had to do PE on Saturdays wearing just their underwear.

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 said the male PE teacher would make advances on the girls.

The care inquiry is ongoing.