Ex-brothel owner admits providing young men to Edward Heath

2015-08-12 17:40
Former British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath. (Johnny Eggit, AFP)

Former British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath. (Johnny Eggit, AFP)

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London - A former brothel owner has admitted she provided "young men" to ex-British prime minister Edward Heath but insited he was "not into sex with children," a report said on Wednesday.

"I knew Edward Heath in the early 90s and provided young men for him," Myra "Ling Ling" Forde told the Sun.

"But he was not into sex with children," Forde was quoted as saying.

"He was just a very secretive and shy gay man," she said. "It was impossible for someone in his position to be openly gay at the time, so he came to me."

Forde said Heath first contacted her in 1990 in response to an advertisement in a local newspaper in Salisbury, Wiltshire, the town where Heath lived for 25 years until his death, aged 89, in 2005.

Forde's interview follows a statement by her lawyer last week saying she denied claims that she had threatened to expose Heath and wanted to "make it clear that she had no involvement with Ted Heath of any kind."

Wiltshire police are co-ordinating investigations by at least seven British police forces into allegations that claims of child sex abuse by Heath, including one dating back to the 1960s, were covered up.

Margaret Thatcher

"One of the first tasks will be to assess the new information that has been received following the appeals for information made last week," Wiltshire police said on Tuesday.

Officers had urged victims and witnesses to contact them after Britain's police watchdog announced an investigation into the handling of a case in Wiltshire involving failure to examine claims of child sexual abuse by Heath.

A prosecution was dropped in 1992 against Forde, ostensibly due to lack of evidence, after she had reportedly threatened to expose Heath, a former prosecutor told the Times last week.

Nigel Seed, a judge who was a prosecution lawyer in 1992, said the case was dropped because three key witnesses failed to testify.

A large number of journalists had arrived at court for Forde's trial, Seed wrote in a letter to the Times.

"I was informed by the police that this was because the defendant, who had been on bail, had let it be known that if the case progressed as far as her having to give evidence she intended to allege that she had provided rent boys to Edward Heath," he said, using the term "rent boy" in reference to young male prostitutes.

Seed said the witnesses who failed to attend court were "three prostitutes who had made statements to the police," including one male.

"Without these witnesses there was no case against the defendant," Seed said.

"The business about Edward Heath, well, nobody believed it at the time," he told the Times, adding that Forde was "a common criminal fighting to keep her liberty".

Forde was later convicted of "running a brothel full of underage girls" in Salisbury and has served two prison sentences, the Daily Mail reported.

She told the Sun that Heath had used the name John and requested "men over 21 and under 30", paying £500 a time to meet them at a hotel.

The fourth time she provided a male escort, Forde said, she indicated to Heath that she knew his real identity and he never contacted her again.

Heath's 50-year political career peaked when he served as Conservative prime minister from 1970 to 1974. He was succeeded as party leader by Margaret Thatcher.

Read more on:    uk  |  child abuse

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