British police have said they believe they have evidence linking Britain’s last unmarried prime minister to alleged victims of pedophilia.
Sir Edward Heath, a Conservative, led the UK between 1970 and 1974. He died aged 89 in 2005.
Since 2015 Wiltshire Police has been investigating claims linking him to sexual abuse. This weekend in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Wiltshire’s chief constable, Mike Veale, said he believed the allegations against Heath (pictured with Richard Nixon) were “120 per cent genuine”.
A report by Wiltshire Police, scheduled for publication later this year, will apparently highlight photographs of Heath driving a car as key evidence against him. The photograph conflicts with Heath’s supporters’ claims that Heath was driven everywhere by police protection officers and never took the wheel himself.
More than 30 alleged victims have apparently contacted Wiltshire Police with claims of abuse involving Heath said to have been carried out between the 1960s and 1990s. A source close to the investigation said that “strikingly similar” allegations made against Heath include the names used for the former politician, the type of abuse and the locations.
Officers have obtained copies of photographs showing Heath behind the wheel of a Rover 2000 car which he bought in the mid-1970s after leaving office. They were reported to have been doubtful about the allegations at first but apparently “now believe them”.
One alleged victim claims he was abused by Heath after being picked up while hitch-hiking.
The investigation into Heath involves a team of seven officers and eleven police staff. It has so far cost £700,000 ($875,000).
In a statement released last night Chief Constable Mike Veale said: “It is not the role of the police to judge the guilt or innocence of people in our criminal justice system. Our role is to objectively and proportionately go where the evidence takes us.”
The investigation is also considering claims that the abuse allegations against Heath were reported to the police years ago but covered up by the British Establishment.
The allegations against Heath have been dismissed by a former aide to another ex-prime minister, Harold Wilson, who urged the police to end their “witch-hunt”. Joe Haines, who was press secretary to Wilson from 1969 to 1976, said he was better placed than most to know if Heath was a “sexual deviant”.