Wiltshire Police have revealed the findings of Operation Conifer – an immense investigation by five police forces into sexual abuse claims against former Tory PM Sir Edward Heath.
After sifting through many accusations and testimonies from his alleged victims, the seasoned detectives who compiled the report agree that if the Conservative leader who ran Britain from 1970 to 1974 were still alive today they would be questioning him under caution for the following allegations:
- An alleged rape and indecently assault on an 11 year old boy during a paid sexual encounter in a home in London in 1961.
- An allegation that Ted Heath indecently assaulted a 10 year old boy in Kent in the company of another unknown man in a public location in 1962.
- A 15-year-old boy was allegedly indecently assaulted by Heath when he was Trade Minister during three paid sexual encounters in Sussex and London around 1964.
- Another boy aged 15 allegedly indecently assaulted in a chance meeting in a public building in Guernsey in 1967 when Heath was Tory Party leader.
- At a public event in Jersey in 1976 he is alleged to have indecently assaulted an adult man.
- When sexual consent for a paid sexual act was withdrawn in a hotel in Wiltshire, Sir Edward Heath indecently assaulted an adult man around 1992.
- Between 1990 and 1992: Heath also allegedly indecently assaulted a boy aged between 12 and 14 between 1990 and 1992 in a garden in Wiltshire. Though the report warns there is undermining evidence for this offence, they would have nevertheless liked to have questioned him on it.
The report cautions: “Where it is concluded that if he had still been alive Sir Edward Heath would have been interviewed under caution to gain an account, it is emphasised that his account would be as important as other evidence gathered as part of the wider investigation.
“Accordingly it is critical to stress that no inference of guilty should be drawn from the fact that Heath would have been interviewed under caution.”
The report adds that if Heath was alive and the investigating officer felt there was enough evidence after hearing his side of the story, it would be up to the Crown Prosecution Service to decide if there was sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges.
The report has caused a backlash from defenders of the leader of the Conservative party from 1965 to 1975.
This week the Tory leader’s godson, Lincoln Seligman, told the Guardian that Supt Veale was “acting as judge and jury” and had “already convicted” Mr Heath.
And Tory peers Lord Armstrong of Ilminster and Lord Butler of Brockwell, who worked in Heath’s government are already calling for an independent judicial review into Operation Conifer.
After the report’s release Lord Armstrong, who served as prime minister Heath’s Parliamentary Private Secretary to Heath while he was prime minister and Lord Hunt of Wirral, chair of Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation, issued a statement saying: “The Wiltshire police report is profoundly unsatisfactory because it neither justifies nor dispels the cloud of suspicion.
“It contains a summary of the investigation, but draws no conclusion as to Sir Edward’s guilt, although during the investigation the chief constable was heard to express, as he certainly should not have done, his personal view that Sir Edward Heath was probably guilty.”
Mike Veale, Chief Superintendent of Wiltshire Police who ran Operation Conifer had reportedly said in an interview during his investigation that he was “120 per cent certain” Mr Heath was guilty.
Today Supt Veale said: “This watershed moment regarding investigations of people connected to the establishment should not be underestimated.”