Edward Heath Would Have Faced Sex Abuse Inquiry, Say UK Police

Posted October 06, 2017

The police report into claims Sir Edward Heath sexually abused children says that seven allegations of rape and sexual assault would have merited his interview under criminal caution had he still been alive.

At the time four other police forces were also in the early stages of investigating allegations of child sexual abuse against the former PM.

Chief Constable Veale said on Thursday that investigators had refrained from commenting "publicly or privately" about Mr. Heath's guilt or innocence.

Of the 42 allegations identified by Operation Conifer, seven are considered credible enough to question Sir Edward but 22 have been dismissed as unsustainable while 13 are hard to take any further because they were made either anonymously or by third parties.

The report cautions: "Where it is concluded that if he had still been alive Sir Edward Heath would have been interviewed under caution to gain an account, it is emphasised that his account would be as important as other evidence gathered as part of the wider investigation".

The investigation into Heath over claims of child sexual abuse started in August 2015.

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The Operation Conifer report looked into 42 claims related to 40 different individuals, with alleged offences from 1956 to 1992.

"(He) was an extremely prominent, influential and high-profile person, arguably one of the most powerful people in the world", he said. A separate criminal investigation is ongoing.

'I hope people will understand that, given these circumstances, it would be an indefensible dereliction of my public duty as a chief constable not to have investigated such serious allegations against a former prime minister, even though he is deceased.

Much later, between 1990 and 1992 it is alleged that Heath indecently assaulted a boy of 12-14.

A 15-year-old boy was allegedly indecently assaulted by Heath when he was Trade Minister during three paid sexual encounters in Sussex and London around 1964. The alleged incident was "over clothing", according to the police.

"The report makes it very clear that this does not constitute proof of Sir Edward's guilt".

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1976 A year after being ousted as Tory leader, Heath allegedly indecently assaulted an adult male during a chance encounter at a public event. There is, for example, a discrepancy over whether Sir Edward ever drove himself, denied by friends but affirmed in the police report.

The findings will be passed to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which is being chaired by Professor Alexis Jay. Was Sir Edward Heath a paedophile or was he not?

But the decision to investigate had been "the right moral thing, ethical thing and professional thing to do", he said.

"The safeguarding and protection of vulnerable people will continue to be out primary reasons for conducting this investigation".

An NSPCC spokesman said: "We urge anyone who has been abused in childhood to report it, however long ago it took place".

The investigation opened when a brothel owner suggested she had information concerning Heath and the abuse of children, however, whether she made the statement or not was put into review.

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