Edward Heath pedophile investigation: Former UK prime minister would have faced questioning


Former British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath would have been questioned over child sex abuse allegations if he was alive when the claims were first made, British police said in a report on Thursday.

Police stressed their report makes no comment or inference on the guilt or otherwise of the former Conservative prime minister, who died 12 years ago and was in power between 1970 and 1974.

However, the report also said "the role of the police in a criminal investigation is not to reach a conclusion as to the likely guilt or innocence of a person who is subject to allegations".

In 1961, allegedly raping and indecently assaulting an 11-year-old boy during a "paid sexual encounter in private". The seven includes the alleged rape of an 11-year-old boy "during a paid sexual encounter in private in a dwelling". These included cases of physical as well as sexual abuse.

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

He said "a significant number of people" had made complaints about Heath.

"This conclusion relates to seven of the 42 disclosures that were considered by the Operation Conifer investigation". Two others were said to have been removed from the list at a late stage.

Following its release on Thursday, Lord Hunt of Wirral, chair of the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation, and Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, former Cabinet Secretary, released a joint statement slamming the report as "profoundly unsatisfactory".

The report adds that if Heath was alive and the investigating officer felt there was enough evidence after hearing his side of the story, it would be up to the Crown Prosecution Service to decide if there was sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges.

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Heath led a Conservative government in the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and served in Parliament until 2001. In one case, police say there was some undermining evidence but that the politician should have been questioned anyway.

Heath died at his home in Salisbury in July 2005 aged 89, which means the claims against him can not be heard at trial and prosecutors can not say whether or not they would have brought charges.

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

Heath's godson, Lincoln Seligman, said the police investigation had cast a stain over a man who could not defend himself.

It was announced past year that the probe had found no evidence the prosecution of brothel keeper Myra Ling-Ling Forde was dropped because of threats to publicly link Sir Edward to sex abuse.

The police do not and can not make a conclusion that Sir Edward is guilty or innocent, Mr. Watts explained, but if they had have been able to interview him, then they would decide whether to pass the case on to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Garnier said that police forces were embarking upon unnecessary inquiries into high profile abuse as they struggle to recover their reputations following the failure to prosecute the former BBC personality Jimmy Savile.

Operation Midland was based on the testimony of one source, known as "Nick", who was later discredited and the operation dropped, before an independent report by retired judge Sir Richard Henriques found 43 separate police failings.