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Flashback to... 2014

Flashback to... 2014

Thursday 26 December 2019

Flashback to... 2014

It was a year of shocks, with harrowing news of an islander mauled by a polar bear, the murder of a backpacker, same-sex marriage legalisation attempts being scuppered... and a real life earthquake.

In the next edition of our review of the decade, we're examining 2014...

Some familiar themes of the previous four years continued to make the headlines, whilst some issues raised their head for the first time.

2014 was the year campaigners who’d long fought to have Plémont headland returned to nature and protected for future generations of islanders could finally celebrate.

In June States members agreed to pay the property developer who’d been given the go ahead to build 28 homes on the site of the now derelict Pontin’s Holiday Camp £3.6m, with the National Trust for Jersey stumping up the other £3.6m.


Pictured: The old Ladies' College pictured by Stacey Yates for 'Absent Presence'.

Elsewhere planning permission was given to build 187 homes on the former Jersey College for Girls site off Rouge Bouillon.

And in December, Planning said ‘yes’ to the  Co-op’s ambitious plans to revamp its Charing Cross site which included the building of a budget Premier Inn hotel, the renovation of five historic mid-19thearly 20th century buildings, and the restoration of an iconic wall painting advertising His Master’s Voice featuring ‘Nipper’ the dog.

In April, more than seven years after Jersey Police had first began investigating claims of historic abuse much of it centred around the former children’s home Haut de la Garenne, the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry began the long process of hearing evidence which it hoped would reveal what had really gone on.

More than £5m was spent on the inquiry in 2014. That figure would rise considerably by the time the final report was handed over in 2017.

2014 was also the year permission was granted for local police officers to be armed with Tasers. The ‘stun guns’ deliver a 50,000-volt shock. The move was prompted by the ever-increasing number of violent offenders police were encountering.

Still with shocks… and just before one in the afternoon on Friday 15 July the island experienced its most severe earthquake in 90 years. The quake which lasted a number of seconds registered 4.2 on the Richter scale and was in the top 40 ever recorded in the British Isles. The epicentre was approximately five miles south west of the island. Although it caused windows to rattle no one was injured.


Pictured: Sir William Bailhache became the Bailiff in 2014.

Politics. And in March it was announced the current Deputy Bailiff William Bailhache would be getting the top job in the new year following the departure of Sir Michael Birt.

For the second time so far during the decade islanders went to the polls to choose who should run Jersey. It was the first true general election with every politician up for re-election at the same time.

Unlike three years early though, there was very little change, more than a third of the House – 17 members – were returned unopposed. St. Mary was the only parish where there was an election for constable.

An extremely tight senatorial poll meant there had to be a re-count, with Senator Philip Ozouf narrowly getting re-elected, finishing in eighth place just 1,500 votes ahead of Senator Sarah Ferguson.

At the same time as islanders were being asked to elect their politicians they were also being asked if they wanted to keep the constables in the States. The referendum result was an overwhelming ‘yes’, with 15,068 supporting the proposition and 9,061 voting against.


Pictured: Deputy Sam Mézec urged States members to agree to the principle of same-sex marriage.

In May, Deputy Sam Mézec urged States members to agree to the principle of same-sex marriage and to draft the necessary legislation. But in July his plans were scuppered when the House approved an amendment from Senator Ian Le Marquand to put the legislation on hold so a detailed study into the effects of allowing same-sex marriage could be carried out.

Also in July, a report was finally released into a 2011 incident in which a Jerseyman on a school expedition to Norway was severely mauled by a polar bear and his tent mate killed. It found serious failings in the safety equipment set up to alert them of a bear attack.

17-year-old Patrick Flinders was bitten on his arm and head during the incident, and had to have his ear sewn back on. He only escaped by repeatedly hitting the bear on its nose. It was eventually shot by one of the expedition leaders.

In September, islanders were shocked by the horrific news that 24-year-old Jersey backpacker David Miller and fellow traveller 23-year-old Hannan Witheridge had been bludgeoned to death on the Thai island of Koh Tao.


Pictured: 23-year-old Hannan Witheridge and 24-year-old David Miller were killed in Koh Tao.

Hundreds of friends dressed in bright colours attended his funeral at Trinity Church in October. The following year two Burmese migrant workers were convicted of the couple’s murder and sentenced to death. Although they have continued to plead their innocence their final appeal to have their sentenced commuted was reject four months ago.

As work continued on ‘unpicking’ the world’s largest Celtic coin hoard which two metal detectorists had uncovered in a field in Grouville in 2012, museum experts announced they’d made some remarkable discoveries.

Probably the most stunning of these was a solid gold torque – a form of necklace that would have been worn by high ranking members of society.

More than 300 islanders had stars in their eyes in January. Producers held an open audition at the Town Hall to find four youngsters aged between 14 and 18 to play major roles in a film, Crystal Island, which they claimed would be filmed in the island later in the year.

And finally, less than two years after welcoming the Olympic torch, Jersey said hello to its Commonwealth Games equivalent: the Queen’s Baton. Having travelled extensive throughout the Commonwealth, the Jersey leg marked its return to the British Isles ahead of the Glasgow games.

It was brought ashore at St Aubin’s harbour by Olympic bronze medallist diving champion Tom Daley and local athlete Zane Duquemin. During the two days it was in Jersey more than 100 islanders got their hands on the baton before it left for Guernsey.

Read Express tomorrow for the 2015 round-up... And, in the meantime, catch up on...





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