UK police watchdog to probe child-sex claim against ex-PM

2015-08-03 18:44
Edward Heath. (<a>Shutterstock</a>)

Edward Heath. (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Britain's police watchdog on Monday said it would investigate officers' handling of a case involving alleged child sexual abuse by former prime minister Edward Heath.

The investigation would cover "allegations concerning Wiltshire police's handling of an alleged claim of child sexual abuse made in the 1990s", the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.

"It is alleged that a criminal prosecution was not pursued, when a person threatened to expose that Sir Edward Heath may have been involved in offences concerning children," the IPCC said.

"In addition to this allegation, the IPCC will examine whether Wiltshire police subsequently took any steps to investigate these claims," it said.

It said Wiltshire police referred the case to the watchdog, "following allegations made by a retired senior officer".

"This is about pulling forward witnesses and victims," Wiltshire police Superintendent Sean Memory told broadcaster ITV.

"We'll deal with it effectively, with absolute privacy for those that come forward," Memory said.

In a statement, Wiltshire police said they planned to work closely with counsellors from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children "to ensure that any victims are appropriately supported".

Wilf Weeks, the acting chairperson of the Sir Ed Heath Charitable Foundation, told ITV he was "gobsmacked" by news of the investigation.

"We wholeheartedly hope, or believe, that this will clear Sir Edward's name," Weeks said.

After reading an IPCC report, Wiltshire police Chief Constable Mike Veale said he had decided to hold disciplinary hearings for two officers who "have a potential case to answer for misconduct".

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.

Heath is believed to have lived most of his life alone. He spent much of his time outside politics in the Wiltshire town of Salisbury, where he died in 2005, aged 89.

Read more on:    uk  |  child abuse

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.