Edward Heath abuse claims: Police defend investigation – BBC News

Image caption Sir Edward Heath was prime minister between 1970 and 1974

An inquiry into child sex abuse asserts involving ex-Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath is exploring a “significant number” of lines, say.

Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Mike Veale has defended Operation Conifer, insisting it is not a “ or witch-hunt”.

He said policemen had received “allegations spanning a significant number of individuals”.

It emerged last month that two people had been arrested and bailed.

Former Conservative prime minister Sir Edward succumbed at his home in Salisbury in July 2005, aged 89.

In an open letter, Mr Veale said he would not be “buckling under pressure to not analyse or to conclude the investigation prematurely”.

He said he wanted to “set the record straight” amid press reports the inquiry was floundering.

‘Satanic abuse’

The chief constable described Sir Edward as an “extremely prominent, influential and high profile person”.

“The decision to undertake this incredibly complex and challenging investigation was not taken gently especially knowing, or at least expect, that we would be placed under intense scrutiny, ” he said.

Mr Veale also confirmed reports that satanic ritual sexuality abuse was a feature of the investigation, although he said it was a small part and did not relate to Sir Edward.

Image caption Chief Constable Mike Veale said he would not “conclude the investigation prematurely”

He added that it was “important to ask the question, if the force had received allegations of non-recent child abuse against a former prime minister and is nothing to, what would the reaction have been?

“Within “the member states national” context of the independent inquiry of exploring allegations of institutional failures in the past, Wiltshire Police was duty bound to record these allegations and launching an impartial and thorough investigation.”

Operation Conifer began in 2015 after asserts against Sir Edward were raised in an inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Information from a retired officer had sparked concerns that Wiltshire Police had purposely caused a criminal prosecution against a suspected brothel keeper to fail in 1994.

Earlier this year the IPCC said it had observed no proof that the case was fell because the woman would be in danger of make allegations against Sir Edward.

But Wiltshire Police has said Operation Conifer is also investigating a number of separate allegations made by persons who came forward. It said the inquiry additionally aims to safeguard and vulnerable adults who may be at risk of abuse today.

The Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation has said it is confident the former “ministers ” will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Read more: www.bbc.co.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *