Search This Blog

Thursday, 7 June 2012

"A Victim Of Jersey - Alphonse Dies at 97"

Alphonse "King of the Ecrehous" has died

Above: Channel Television followed Alphonse Le Gastelois in 1964. 

Jersey Witch hunts - The mentality has not changed

The man dubbed the King of the Ecrehous has died at the age of 97.

Alphonse Le Gastelois was hounded out of Jersey in the 1960s: he was wrongly identified as a suspect in a series of hideous sex crimes against children. Edward Paisnel "The Beast of Jersey" was later convicted of the crimes.

Mr Le Gastleois fled the slander and began what was to be a 14-year exile on the tiny reef which lies between Jersey and France. He took shelter in the fishermen's huts which are still standing today and lived off the land as best he could. The owners of the huts and visitors often gave him vital supplies and books.

Le Gastleois had been given some law books and he believed that if he lived on the reef long enough he could lawfully claim it as his own - hence his nickname. But before he could do anything about his claim there was an episode which was to change his life.

A posse of officials from Jersey went to the reef to exterminate rabbits which were said to be destroying what little vegetation existed there. As they were returning to Jersey, the biggest building on the reef caught fire and was destroyed. Alphonse was arrested and accused lighting the fire, but at his subsequent Royal Court trial he was unanimously acquitted by the 24-strong jury who took just minutes to reach their 'not guilty' verdict.

There was to be no return to the Ecrehous for the Jerseyman who took up residence in St Helier.

Years later a States Senator attempted to win compensation for Alphonse: John Rothwell, who has since died, pleaded with fellow politicians to grant Alphonse £20,000 to compensate for the humiliation and pain he had suffered at the hands of islanders, but there was little appetite for such recompense.


'Sex exile' compensation call

The States of Jersey is being asked to offer him £20,000

A man who spent 14 years on a small Channel Islands reef after being wrongly accused of sex crimes will hear if he is to receive compensation.

The BBC's James Ingham: "Mr Le Gastelois now lives in poverty"
Jersey's Government is being asked to help Alphonse Le Gastelois, 84, arrested in 1960 by police hunting a serial sex offender nicknamed the Beast of Jersey. After 40 hours of questioning, detectives found nothing to connect him to the decade-long series of attacks on women and children.
But his name was released to the press and he became the subject of a hate campaign on the island.
He was forced to flee to Ecrehous, a tiny reef between Jersey and France and only returned when the real offender was caught and sentenced 14 years later.
He now lives in a tiny damp house owned by the Government of Jersey, the Island States, in extreme poverty.
Jersey politican John Rothwell is asking the States of Jersey to offer him £20,000 compensation.
"The States have a responsibility to recognise that that humiliation led to his suffering mentally and otherwise and for this island, which has something like £109bn on deposit, £20,000 is very little," said Mr Rothwell.
A petition started on Saturday already has 1,000 signatures, with locals calling for a public apology from police.
But Mr Le Gastelois still feels hurt and says money wont make any difference.
"What can you do? You can't rebuild my life, you can't rebuild me," he said. "I don't want much now, only want to be left in peace."
He said of the possible compensation: "It's a bit late in life but it will help."


  1. Ian.

    Alfonse was a victim of "The Jersey Way" and probably the Jersey Media way.

    Although I am banned from participating in BBC programmes I still send in the odd e-mail (which don't get read out). Today's (not read out) e-mail is below and asks a very poignant question. How responsible for Alfonse's disgraceful treatment are Jersey's State Media, and in particular the BBC?

    E-MAIL. subject "Alfonse"


    You asked if the people of Jersey are too quick to judge? I would say "yes" but the "accredited" media are responsible for this and in particular BBC Jersey.

    The Former Police Chief, Graham Power QPM, has been judged solely on a prosecution case (the Wiltshire Report) which has been broadcast by BBC Jersey. Jon Gripton was given Mr. Power's defence case some 7 months ago and hasn't shared/broadcast any of it with the public.

    The public are not to blame for being too quick to judge when the BBC are only willing to put out a prosecution case against somebody. It would be interesting to learn how the BBC broadcast the "Alfonse case" at the time. If it is the same as the Graham Power case then it is no wonder he was unfairly judged by the public."

  2. BBC Radio Jersey kicked off in 1982. So not very responsible!

  3. Jerseys past is as disgusting as its present.

  4. This is why...we must resist and question the Govt at all it is a rogue entity that has neithr morals or integrity...a juggernaut that crushes people.all teh bloggers know this....the price of freedom is eternal vigilance...does that make us vigilantes...not really just true patriots.

  5. Many thanks for the info on Alphonse Le Gastelois.

    - Aangirfan

    1. I am pleased to have such a revered guest :)

  6. It is especially relevant that the issue of a convicted sex offender living in an area where there are many children has been raised this week.
    SSTAG will discuss this at the next public meeting on Thursday 14 June from 3pm at the Eastern Good Companions Club - Le Marais - St Clement.

    Even sex offenders have rights of course and the example of totally innocent Alphonse Le Gastelois shows how it is possible to get it all so wrong.

    We now understand that the sex offender identified has already been moved elsewhere and had some learning difficulties to deal with.

    But what can reasonably be expected in such a small Island community? The information already published by SSTAG on
    reveals yet more worries that need to be better understood and discussed.

    This is just one issue on the meeting's agenda.

  7. So someone is supected of a serious crime, and the police carry out an investigation but they don't find the evidence. So instead of recognising we have a system (no matter how flawed) for a very good reason, someone who thinks they know better puts the person's name out into the public domain. Net result: lynch mob mentality. Sound familiar anyone? Before people start geting on their high horse and claim the moral high ground, remember this: Winston Churchill described democracy as 'the least worst form of government'. And trial by Jury not blog) is almost certainly the least worst form of justice. But the alternatives are vigilante lynch mobs and rule by accusation. And please, before you call me a "paedo-loving (insert epithet here)" I have no interest in supporting any one case/accused person. What I AM interested in is raising a loud clear and passionate objection to the terrifyingly naive view that we can take the law into our own hands. That way lies REAL trouble. Like it or not we have a system. It isn't perfect but it reqires 12 ordinary people like me to decide.

  8. "12 ordinary people like me to decide"

    What on earth are you talking about?

    Are you suggesting that we have got juries in Jersey?

  9. What on earth am I talking about? Yes there are juries in Jersey. What do you mean?

  10. Very rarely, and even some of those are rigged!

    Most of these alleged court cases are just strict liability tribunals where the err 'defendant' has no possible chance of winning whatsoever....The alleged Magistrates are not on their oaths of office and where any corrupt bullshit will surfice, as long as it is in the interest of the crown!!!

  11. The assizes sit regularly. They are jury trials. If you have evidence of rigged juries it would be interesting to see. My point is that I would rather have my fate decided by 12 ordinary people rather than it be decided by a blogger that I am 'obviously' guilty.

  12. I think I would rather go with the blogger thank you!!!

  13. If that's a joke, its not funny. If you are serious then that is unbelievably naive. What you are saying is that the policeman who leaked Alphonse le Gastelois name in 1960 was right. And you think you are just like that policeman. Quite an admission.

  14. What are you on about? Think outside the box for God's sake....

  15. OK I' ll be as clear as I can:
    1: In 1960 a man was accused. No-one at the time knew whether he was guilty or not. It was up to the courts to decide. Turns out he was innocent. That's by the by.
    2: But the police couln't put a case together. And in fact that was because that man was innocent, but that's by the by.
    3: Because someone seems to have been convinced he was guilty, existing social networks were used to leak the man's name. In those days it was an anonymous phone call, or an unsigned note, a quiet word with a few people or 'accidentally' letting it slip in a memo. Nowadays we use blogs and Facebook etc. Same game, different tools.
    4: Net result: man hounded into the ground. The attitude was "the ends justify the means."
    5: Now before you mention Nurse M or some other cause celebre, I am not talking about that or any other individual case. I am talking about how dangerous it is to do what was done in steps 1-3 above. As to why it is so dangerous, see step 4 above.
    I was around as a kid in Jersey before the Beast was arrested. I remember the fear. I remember how people slept with guns by their beds. I don't take this lightly. But what YOU and other 'bloggers' take so lightly is that once we have 'trial by blog' no-one is safe, no innocnt person is immune form malicious hounding like Alphonse suffered. Clear enough 'box' for you?
    Think outside the box? Give me a break. Will you listen? Not a hope, But at least other people can read this and think.

    1. Your still not catching on, are you?

      And the blogs are not convicting anyone, what are you on about?

      Example please!

  16. it is clear the man was wronged and innocent...what bugs me now is want to know the states memebers who would not vote for the apology and any of your clever bloggers know how to track that was a matter of public record...they should be named...dead or alive as they were the very types that allowed injustice and the whole HDLG cover ups...28 voted for ...who were the naysayers....?

    1. Good question, this is Mike Dun territory.........

  17. Shame on the ignorance of the justice system of Jersey. In my time living there [1963- 1973] I found the whole system of the island locked in the dark ages. Hopefully there has been enough change to bring it into the 21st century.