At least five separate police forces in the UK are investigating allegations that Sir Edward Health sexually abused children after it emerged a criminal inquiry into the former prime minister may have been covered up.
Police officers from London, Wiltshire, Kent, Jersey and Hampshire are now looking into pedophilia claims against Heath after a rush of new allegations were made in the wake of accusations that he raped a 12-year-old boy.
Rape allegations were made after a senior ex-police whistleblower alleged a criminal case had been closed after a suspect threatened to expose Heath as a child sex abuser.
The suspect has now been identified as 67-year-old Myra Ford, who has been jailed twice for running a brothel in Wiltshire.
The announcement of the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s (IPCC) inquiry into the case triggered a wave of new allegations.
Wiltshire Police announced on Monday it was opening a second investigation into whether there had been a cover-up of child sex abuse claims in the 1990s and urged any further victims to come forward.
One alleged victim claimed on Tuesday he was raped in 1961, aged 12, when he was picked up by his attacker and driven to an apartment on London’s Park Lane.
The Metropolitan Police have so far rejected the allegations and sources confirmed these specific claims against the former PM had been dismissed.
However, Heath’s name has been passed to Operation Midland, the police inquiry investigating a “VIP pedophile network,” which allegedly operated throughout Westminster in the 1970s and 1980s.
On Tuesday evening, Hampshire police said it was also investigating claims. Wiltshire Police meanwhile confirmed it had received a “number of calls” on Tuesday following its appeal for victims and witnesses to come forward.
Kent Police further said it was looking into a claim of sexual assault by Heath, while Jersey Police claimed the former PM is already a suspect in its own inquiry into historical sex abuse.
“Kent Police has today received a report of a sexual assault having been committed in east Kent in the 1960s. The victim has named Sir Edward Heath in connection with the allegation,” the force said in a statement.
Heath served as a Conservative Prime Minister from 1970 until 1974. He died in 2005 aged 89.
UK body to probe ‘police failure’ in child abuse claim against ex-PM
The UK police’s monitoring body says it will investigate whether the British law enforcement failed to probe an allegation of child sex abuse against former prime minister Edward Heath in the 1990s.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it had received an allegation “that a criminal prosecution was not pursued, when a person threatened to expose that Sir Edward Heath may have been involved in offenses concerning children.”
Heath, a Conservative, was prime minister between 1970 and 1974 and had a home in Wiltshire county. He died in 2005, aged 89.
The IPCC is now set to investigate Wiltshire Police’s handling of the allegation.
This is while the Wiltshire Police force has said it is trying to find “witnesses or victims who support the allegations of child sex abuse,” and urged victims to come forward.
Now Dr. Jon Bird, operations manager of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), says these cases have come to the fore as victims have come out and spoken against such crimes over the past years.
A public inquiry in Britain is investigating whether police and other authorities covered up sexual abuse by powerful people over several decades.
New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard, who is leading the public inquiry, said last month that Britain had been stunned by revelations about child sexual abuse in the country, and warned that the true scale of the crime has long been underestimated.
A dam of official silence around child abuse in Britain began to break after the 2011 death of BBC entertainer Jimmy Savile, when dozens came forward to say he had abused them. Subsequent revelations have implicated other entertainers, as well as British priests and senior politicians.