Report released into Sir Edward Heath investigation

Former Tory MP who worked for Edward Heath This just doesn't fit

Former Tory MP who worked for Edward Heath This just doesn't fit

Their report released Thursday says "there is sufficient suspicion to have interviewed Sir Edward Heath under criminal caution regarding his suspected involvement in child sexual abuse".

Inquiries into the claims were led by the Wiltshire police on behalf of 14 forces who received claims alleging that the former prime minister had carried out acts of sexual abuse.

The first occurred in 1961 when Heath, who then had the title "Lord Privy Seal", is alleged to have raped and indecently assaulted a boy "during a paid sexual encounter in a private dwelling".

In an open letter in December 2016 - an unusual step for a police chief - Wiltshire chief constable Mike Veale defended the investigation and denied it was a "fishing trip or a witch-hunt".

Some have criticised the inquiry, with The Telegraph claiming that at least one of those who made the allegations against Heath is also dead, and so their claim was "effectively made from beyond the grave".

"Sir Edward Heath's reputation should not be left in limbo".

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The alleged incidents span from 1956 to 1992, but don't related to the four years Heath spent as prime minister from 1970 to 1974.

"If you make a mass appeal for victims you are sure to get them, whether they are legitimate or not", he told Radio 4's Today program.

Britain has been rocked in recent years by a series of revelations involving the sexual abuse of children by public figures - including United Kingdom entertainer Jimmy Savile - and allegations that the British establishment may have sought to cover up historic abuse claims involving some former senior politicians.

Heath was made Tory party leader a year later.

The panel said it had "a wish to record that at all stages Wiltshire Police have allowed us to check and test their decision making and approach to all aspects of the investigation".

"Of the large pool of allegations contained in today's report, six of them would definitively have led the police to interview Sir Edward under caution".

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"Furthermore, in line with recognised best practice, Wiltshire Police recently commissioned Operation Hydrant to undertake an independent review of the investigation to ensure its ongoing proportionality and justification". "That is the only way in which justice can be done". Well, everyone knows that during his lifetime, and as a single man, Sir Edward was the subject of sexual innuendo and gossip.

Sir Edward was named as a suspected sex abuser as a series of historic claims were made against public figures including ex-home secretary Leon Brittan, former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, Liberal Democrat Sir Cyril Smith and Labour peer and former MP Lord Janner.

In 1985 Sir Edward bought Arundells, an impressive house in the shadow of Salisbury Cathedral, and following his death in July 2005 aged 89 he bequeathed the property to the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation.

None of the allegations about which Wiltshire Police would have questioned Sir Edward relate to when he was prime minister, the force said.

And in three of the cases, alleged victims were mistaken in pinpointing Sir Edward as the perpetrator.

In the case of a further 19 allegations, the availability of "undermining information" would have meant that Heath would not have been interviewed in relation to them. The guidance clearly states that there is a legal duty for police to proportionately investigate criminal allegations made against deceased persons.

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