Edward Heath 'would have been investigated' into allegations of abuse, investigation reveals

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Allegations that former prime minister Sir Edward Heath raped and indecently assaulted boys were sufficiently credible to justify questioning him under caution were he alive today.

The Wiltshire police chief constable, Mike Veale, said of the inquiry: "This watershed moment regarding investigations of people connected to the establishment should not be underestimated".

"The account from Sir Edward Heath would have been as important as other evidence gathered as part of the wider investigation", it adds. The report says: "Sir Edward Heath allegedly raped and indecently assaulted a male, aged 11 years, during a paid sexual encounter in private in a dwelling".

Claim: Heath allegedly indecently assaulted a 15-year-old boy during a chance encounter in a public building.

There is, for example, a discrepancy over whether Sir Edward ever drove himself, denied by friends but affirmed in the police report.

The police said their findings would be presented to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which was established in 2005 to investigate whether public and private institutions in England and Wales had taken sufficient action to protect children from sexual abuse.

One of the people was cautioned by officers while another is now being investigated.

Mark Watts, former editor of Exaro News, a website which first reported the claims against Sir Edward, said the allegations against him spanned an "extraordinary period of time" between 1961 and 1992.

"This conclusion relates to seven of the 42 disclosures that were considered by the Operation Conifer investigation". "The guidance clearly states that there is a legal duty for the police, under article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, for police forces to proportionately investigate criminal allegations made against deceased persons". He remained an MP until 2001 and was "father of the house", the longest-serving parliamentarian at Westminster, for nine years.

But a probe launched by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into the alleged historical corruption found no evidence that the retired officer's claims were true. "Many will think it is an attempt to derail, silence and discredit the investigation before the report has been delivered".

Therefore, the findings in the report published today do not state whether Sir Edward Heath was guilty of any criminal offences or comment on the prospect of a successful prosecution had he been alive today.

In a further statement, Bishop Holtam said: "The investigation by Wiltshire Police has been very challenging".

'In the meantime, a fundamental, time-honoured principle should be respected, namely that a man is innocent until he is proven guilty.

He died in 2005 at age 89 and has become the most senior figure to be investigated for child sex abuse allegations dating back decades.

Heath's reputation should not be left in limbo, his former colleagues said.

Sir Edward has been described as "completely asexual" and Mr Seligman described sex as something that "was not on his radar".

"It is no surprise at all that Wiltshire police should have concluded that they would have interviewed Sir Edward had he been alive. Wiltshire Police have sent their evidence to them", he told Sputnik.

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