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Former PM Edward Heath in alleged child sex cover-up

By Hayden Smith

Published 04/08/2015

Sir Edward Heath
Sir Edward Heath

An alleged cover-up of child sex allegations against Sir Edward Heath is at the centre of a police corruption probe.

Watchdogs are examining claims that the prosecution of an individual was shelved after a threat was made to "expose" the former prime minister.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is also looking into whether Wiltshire Police followed up the claim against Sir Edward, which was made in the 1990s.

The inquiry was sparked by allegations made by a retired senior officer.

Meanwhile, Wiltshire Police have appealed for potential victims to come forward.

Sir Edward, who was PM for four years in the 1970s, is the highest-profile figure to be embroiled in historic abuse allegations against prominent figures.

Superintendent Sean Memory said: "The allegation is that a trial was due to take place in the 1990s and information was received in that trial that Sir Ted Heath was involved in the abuse of children and the allegation is that from the result of that information the trial never took place.

"A retired senior police officer has come forward towards the end of 2014 indicating that they were aware of this information.

"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 you have any information about this, then please come forward."

In a statement, Wiltshire Police said: "We would like to hear from anyone who has any relevant information that may assist us in our inquiries or anyone who believes that they may have been a victim."

An IPCC spokesman said it is to investigate allegations concerning the force's handling of an "alleged claim of child sexual abuse made in the 1990s".

He added: "It is alleged that a criminal prosecution was not pursued when a person threatened to expose that Sir Edward Heath may have been involved in offences concerning children.

"In addition to this allegation, the IPCC will examine whether Wiltshire Police subsequently took any steps to investigate these claims."

Labour MP Tom Watson claimed he received information relating to allegations of child abuse involving Sir Edward in 2012.

He added: "A separate claim concerning Heath was made to me subsequently. 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."

In a statement, the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation said: "We welcome the investigation by Wiltshire Police, which we wholeheartedly believe will clear Sir Edward's name and we will co-operate fully with the police in their inquiries."

Sir Edward, who led the Conservative government between 1970 and 1974, never married and was famously reticent about his private life.

One biographer concluded that he may have been a latent or repressed homosexual while another thought he was "pretty well sexless".

Profile

As Prime Minister, Edward Heath presided over some of the most turbulent years in Britain's post war history. His time in Downing Street in the early 70s was marked by widespread industrial unrest with power blackouts and much of the country reduced to a three-day working week. For his supporters, his crowning achievement was to negotiate Britain's entry into the Common Market as the EU was then known - a decision that continues to divide the Conservative Party 40 years on.

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