United Kingdom police release report on ex-premier's abuse claims

Former Tory MP who worked for Edward Heath This just doesn't fit

Former Tory MP who worked for Edward Heath This just doesn't fit 03:16

Operation Conifer sparked controversy nearly from the start, after a senior police officer made a television appeal outside Sir Edward's former home in Salisbury urging victims to come forward.

"The publication of the report today is therefore helpful in precisely outlining the allegations made against the former Prime Minister".

"In the case of three disclosures, the persons reporting alleged abuse have subsequently concluded that they were genuinely mistaken in naming Sir Edward Heath as the perpetrator". These relate to separate people who did not know each other, each in a different location and time period.

He said the police had the duty to protect and safeguard children and vulnerable adults.

Among them, the former television presenter Jimmy Savile was found to have abused children while working for the BBC, and police concluded after the death of the ex-lawmaker Cyril Smith that he should have been charged on three occasions in the 1960s and 1990s over claims of indecent assault.

The report said that in seven cases, allegations received led to Heath's suspected involvement.

In two cases, the report reveals, there is evidence to suggest those making the claims "may have attempted to intentionally mislead the police" in naming Sir Edward as their abuser.

Sir Edward was in power between 1970 and 1974. "The allegations made to and the evidence collected by the police should be independently reviewed and an independent conclusion arrived at".

'In the meantime, a fundamental, time-honoured principle should be respected, namely that a man is innocent until he is proven guilty. The alleged offences are said to have occurred when he was a serving MP. Those concerns were amplified in August 2015 when the police made a controversial televised appeal for anyone who may "have been the victim of any crime from Sir Ted Heath" to come forward. "This gives entirely bogus credibility to their investigation without meaning anything in forensic terms".

Lincoln Seligman, Heath's godson, is reportedly calling for a judicial inquiry into how the police handled the allegations.

The claims against Heath that would have merited interview under caution span 31 years. He added: "They are covering their backs at the expense of a dead man. Shame on them".

Police stressed that they could not pass judgment on whether Heath, who died in 2005, was guilty or not, nor whether there would have been a likely prospect of successfully prosecuting him. The claims could instead be heard at an inquiry headed by a retired judge, a course his charitable trust has called for. Wiltshire Police is in the process of complying with this request and will have done so by the end of October 2017. Among their claims were rape and indecent assault against children. Wiltshire has always been keen to stress its officers didn't speak to "Nick". It was led by the Wiltshire force as his Salisbury home was in the area it covers.

"There is a great deal of credible evidence that he did have a predilection for abusing children, particularly boys, and that is all we can say", he told Sputnik.

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