Late Bri­tish PM Heath sus­pected of abus­ing five boys

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - COMMENT -

LON­DON (AFP) - For­mer Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Ed­ward Heath would have been ques­tioned over claims that he sex­u­ally as­saulted five boys if he was still alive, po­lice have an­nounced.

Heath, who was Bri­tain's pre­mier be­tween 1970 and 1974, is al­leged to have raped an 11-year-old boy dur­ing a paid sex­ual en­counter, of­fi­cers re­vealed fol­low­ing a mam­moth two-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Heath, who died in 2005 aged 89, would have been in­ter­viewed un­der cau­tion over seven al­le­ga­tions dat­ing be­tween 1961 and 1992, re­lat­ing to five boys and two adult men.

“Sir Ed­ward Heath was an ex­tremely prom­i­nent, in­flu­en­tial and high-pro­file per­son who was ar­guably one of the most pow­er­ful peo­ple in the world,” Wilt­shire po­lice chief con­sta­ble Mike Veale said, an­nounc­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion's find­ings.

“The al­le­ga­tions against him were of the ut­most se­ri­ous­ness and from a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple.”

The 1.5 mil­lion ($2 mil­lion, 1.7 mil­lion euro) probe was trig­gered in 2015 af­ter Heath was named as a sus­pect in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into so-called his­tor­i­cal child sex abuse.

Of the 42 al­le­ga­tions made against Heath, seven were suf­fi­ciently cred­i­ble to jus­tify the po­lice ques­tion­ing him un­der cau­tion.

Those al­le­ga­tions in­clud­ing the rape and in­de­cent as­sault of an 11-year-old boy dur­ing a paid sex­ual en­counter in 1961 and the in­de­cent as­sault of a 10-year-old boy in 1962.

In ad­di­tion, he al­legedly in­de­cently as­saulted two boys aged 15 in the 1960s, and one aged be­tween 12 and 14 in the early 1990s, as well as two adult males in 1976 and be­tween 1990 and 1992.

Six peo­ple named Heath in ac­cu­sa­tions of sa­tanic or rit­ual abuse, but po­lice found no cor­rob­o­ra­tive ev­i­dence. No in­fer­ence of guilt was made by the re­port. Heath led the Con­ser­va­tive Party from 1965 un­til 1975 when he was ousted by Mar­garet Thatcher -some­thing which he never for­gave her for.

As prime min­is­ter, he took Bri­tain into the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity in 1973, and was known as a dour bach­e­lor who loved sail­ing and clas­si­cal mu­sic.

Heath rarely spoke about his pri­vate life de­spite years of me­dia in­sin­u­a­tions that he was gay, at a time when any pub­lic dec­la­ra­tion of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity would have im­peded a top-flight po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

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