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

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

The investigation was launched back in August 2015, with Wiltshire Police taking the lead on behalf of all police forces in the UK. The police said no inference of guilt could be drawn about the allegations and Heath's godson, Lincoln Seligman, said he did not believe any of the claims.

The investigation was codenamed Operation Conifer.

Wiltshire Police said that two were later released without charge, while the third remains under investigation.

The report does not address the question of Sir Edward's guilt or innocence because the remit of the two-year £1.5million inquiry was to see whether there was enough evidence to interview the former MP for Bexley, who died at home in Salisbury in July 2005, aged 89.

The report says the allegations received in seven cases led to Heath's "suspected involvement in an offence" and thus the former prime minister would need to have been interviewed under criminal caution.

However, Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North-West Leicestershire, spoke in support of the work of Wiltshire Police and its chief constable Mike Veale.

Lord Macdonald QC, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, condemned Wiltshire Police for the way they handled the investigation, saying the report gives the allegations "entirely bogus credibility".

"We had really quite a close relationship. and I think I did know him very well".

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

Instead the aim of the investigation was to "seek to establish the facts concerning allegations of child abuse made against Sir Edward Heath through an objective and proportionate investigation", as well as identifying whether any living people may have committed offenses, or whether any children or vulnerable adults were today at risk of 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).

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

Two of the offences including the alleged rape - are said to have taken place during "paid sexual encounters". There is, for example, a discrepancy over whether Sir Edward ever drove himself, denied by friends but affirmed in the police report.

"The bar for interview is low, in most investigations as low as the police want it to be- and in the case of a dead man, virtually non-existent".

The officer "expressed concerns" that a crown court trial in Wiltshire had been "discontinued" in 1994, to prevent the defendant publicly claiming the former Tory prime minister had been involved in child sex abuse, implying Wiltshire Police was "complicit" in covering up alleged paedophilia. The claims could instead be heard at an inquiry headed by a retired judge, a course his charitable trust has called for.

The summary report from Wiltshire Police will be published later this morning.

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