In Brief

Ted Heath: five police forces now investigating sex abuse allegations

A flurry of claims of abuse by the late ex-PM has followed Monday’s appeal for victims in Wiltshire

Hampshire police have confirmed they are investigating allegations of sexual abuse by Ted Heath. There are now five police forces with ongoing investigations into the former Tory prime minister, who died in 2005 at the age of 89.

The story broke on Monday when police watchdog the IPCC said it was investigating a possible cover-up by Wiltshire Police in the 1990s. The force appealed for ‘victims’ of Heath to come forward and allegations are now pouring in, The Times says.

The five forces now known to be investigating Heath are:

  • Wiltshire. It has been alleged that a Filipino grandmother convicted of running a brothel in Salisbury in 1995 had other charges dropped in the 1990s after she threatened to expose Heath. He lived one mile from her establishment.
  • London. The Met received an allegation in April from a 65-year-old man who claims Heath raped him when he was 12. The Met said yesterday his claims would not be investigated further. However, it has been reported they have passed Heath’s name to Operation Midland, an ongoing inquiry into an alleged VIP paedophile ring.
  • Kent. Police said yesterday they had received a claim of sexual assault by Heath in the 1960s in the east of the county. Heath’s family home was in Broadstairs.
  • Jersey. It was confirmed yesterday that Heath has for months been one of the suspects in a historical abuse inquiry focusing on the Haute de la Garenne children’s home, which was the subject of another inquiry in 2008.
  • Hampshire. Late last night, the Hampshire force confirmed it was investigating allegations against Heath but gave no further details, the Daily Express reported.

Yesterday, the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation insisted it was confident the former PM would be cleared of all wrongdoing. Some of his former employees also expressed their certainty he was not guilty.

There has been concern that Heath’s putative homosexuality – which the confirmed bachelor never openly expressed – might lay him open to the charge of paedophilia in homophobic media reports.

Edward Heath accused of raping 12-year-old boy

4 August

Police have appealed for potential victims to come forward after allegations were made that Sir Edward Heath sexually abused a child in 1961.

A man, now 64, claims that Sir Edward picked him up along the A2 road in north Kent as he hitched a lift. The accuser said: "He asked me if I had somewhere to stay, to which I replied in the negative. He said if I wanted to I could stay at his place for the night." He claims he was then raped in a Mayfair flat, reports The Mirror.

Four years after the alleged assault, the man says he realised who his alleged abuser was when he recognised him in a newspaper photograph, standing beside Margaret Thatcher.

"I learned that he was MP for Bexley," he said in statements to his legal team. He says he was branded "a liar and a fantasist" after initially reporting the alleged assault in the 1960s.

He spoke out after it was revealed that police are being investigated over claims they covered up separate child sex allegations against the ex-Tory leader.

Former prime minister Sir Edward – who died at his home in Salisbury in 2005 aged 89 – is the highest-profile individual to be named in the wave of historical sex abuse allegations against prominent figures.

Wiltshire Police have launched a public appeal for any victims to come forward. Superintendent Sean Memory said: "This is an appeal for victims in particular if you have been the victim of any crime from Sir Ted Heath or any historical sexual offence, or you are a witness or have any information about this, then please come forward."

Labour MP and campaigner against child sex abuse, Simon Danczuk, said: "These are very serious allegations and they need to be investigated as a matter of urgency."

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