The Metropolitan Police Force has announced it is investigating the late Tory MP and former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath as part of an ongoing inquiry into claims of abuse by establishment figures. That means that Ted Heath is now being investigated by three separate police forces – Jersey and Wiltshire being the other two – as part of their inquiries into allegations of historical child abuse.
Wiltshire Police were the first to announce their inquiry yesterday. In their statement issued after it was announced the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was investigating the force’s failure to pursue an allegation of child sexual abuse, Wiltshire Police said:
“Sir Edward Heath has been named in relation to offences concerning children. He lived in Salisbury for many years and we would like to hear from anyone who has any relevant information that may assist us in our enquiries or anyone who believes they may have been a victim.”
The Wiltshire investigation arose following allegations from a retired detective that claims from the 1990s were never followed up. In addition the IPCC will look into whether another criminal prosecution was dropped when a person “threatened to expose that Sir Edward Heath may have been involved in offences concerning children”.
The BBC reports that since 2012 Labour MP Tom Watson has referred to the police two allegations of child sexual abuse by Heath. He said: “I passed them both to the police, who have confirmed to me that at least one of those allegations is being investigated and taken seriously.”
According to the BBC the former Prime Minister is also one of the named targets in Operation Midland, a police investigation into claims boys were abused by establishment figures across southern England and London in the ’70s and ’80s. Others being investigated also come from the world of politics, as well as the military and law enforcement. The investigation involves the notorious Dolphin Square estate in Pimlico, south-west London.
The States of Jersey Police force has also confirmed Heath is under investigation. He forms part of their own investigation into historical allegations of abuse in Jersey, known as Operation Whistle. Involving 45 suspects – some already dead, others currently unidentified – and covering four institutions, the Jersey force has said it includes 13 “people of public prominence”.
Details of one specific allegation were today reported by The Mirror newspaper. The claim comes from a man, now 64, who says Heath raped him as a 12-year-old boy after giving him a lift when he ran away from home. He claims he was picked up by Heath when hitchhiking somewhere along the A2 in north Kent.
The Mirror reports this is believed to be less than two miles from where Heath was allegedly warned by police in the 1950s to stop cruising for gay sex. It is also about two miles from the Old Bexley and Sidcup constituency Heath served as MP for 51 years.
The alleged victim says he reported the attack in 1961, two months after the incident, but says he was “fobbed off” by social workers and has been called “a liar and a fantasist”. He claims it was only in 1965 that he realised who his rapist was, having recognised him in a photograph.
He said: “This answered a lot of questions as to why no-one believed me about the London saga.”
Heath’s friends have dismissed the multiple claims saying there is no evidence to link him to abuse but Labour MP and child abuse campaigner Simon Danczuk said:
“These are very serious allegations and they need to be investigated as a matter of urgency.”