Paedophile allegations inquiry over former Old Bexley and Sidcup MP Sir Edward Heath set to publish findings
PUBLISHED: 09:27 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:27 05 October 2017
The former prime minster was born in Broadstairs
The police force investigating allegations that former prime minister Sir Edward Heath was a paedophile will publish its findings today.
Wiltshire Police will make public the “summary closure report” of its inquiry into the former Old Bexley and Sidcup MP, who represented the constituency from 1950 to 2001.
The probe, called Operation Conifer, was launched in 2015 after Sir Edward was named as a suspect in an investigation into historical child sex abuse.
The findings will be passed to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which is being chaired by Professor Alexis Jay.
Reports at the weekend claimed Wiltshire Police, which conducted the £1.5 million investigation, believed it would have had enough grounds to interview the late politician under caution if the Chatham House Grammar School alumni was still alive.
Operation Conifer has proven controversial since a senior police officer made a television appeal outside Sir Edward’s former home in Salisbury urging victims to come forward.
Friends and colleagues of the Broadstairs-born politician have said he was “completely asexual” and the child sex abuse allegations were “totally uncharacteristic and unlikely”.
Lincoln Seligman, Sir Edward’s godson, has called for an official inquiry saying there were serious flaws in Operation Conifer.
“My suspicion is that we will learn nothing from the report except innuendo and that really takes nobody any further forward, except it leaves a dark stain over a man who can’t defend himself,” he said this week.
“What we are looking for is a judge-led review of a: how the police have conducted Operation Conifer and b: all the evidence it has produced.
“We want a judge to look at that who will be independent and impartial and to me that is the opposite of cover-up, because we want the truth and we believe the truth will exonerate him (Sir Edward).”
Last year, the probe found no evidence that a prosecution against a brothel keeper was dropped because of threats to allege publicly that Sir Edward had been involved in sexual offences.
In November, Dr Rachel Hoskins, who was enlisted by detectives to examine evidence, said she had “exposed a catalogue of fabrication” at the heart of the probe and warned the force it should immediately end its investigation into a key accuser’s “pernicious” claims of satanic ritual abuse.
The leading criminologist also branded the inquiry “a disgrace” and said that, while the force had accepted her report, she had “little confidence” police would pass the findings on to MPs.
Speaking last month, chief constable Mike Veale said: “This investigation has followed and complied with national guidance from the outset and throughout and this extends to the publication of the report.
“The report will include detail of the scale and scope of the investigation, and a summary of its findings.
“It is important to stress that it is not the role of the police to judge the guilt or innocence of people in our criminal justice system.
“Likewise, it is equally as important for people not to speculate about the veracity of the allegations against Sir Edward Heath.”
Sir Edward, who led the Conservative government from 1970 to 1974, died at home in Salisbury in July 2005, aged 89.