Ted Heath investigation to continue after probe into police misconduct finds no evidence of wrongdoing

The IPCC found no evidence that police had scrapped a prosecution over threats to name the former Prime Minister

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The Independent Online

Police have vowed to continue their investigation into allegations of child sex abuse by the late Sir Edward Heath after several people responded to an appeal for information.

Wiltshire Police was itself under investigation for possible misconduct over claims that it shelved a prosecution over threats to identify the former Prime Minister.

But the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found no evidence of wrongdoing and concluded that the trial in question was stopped because witnesses refused to testify.

Former prime minister Sir Edward Heath died in 2005 (Getty Images)

The IPCC investigated claims by a retired senior officer that Wiltshire Police deliberately caused a criminal prosecution to fail in 1994 after the defendant – a brothel owner - threatened to tell the press she supplied Sir Edward with underage boys for sex if the trial went ahead. 

“The investigation found no evidence to support the suggestion that the alleged comment had any bearing on the outcome of the trial against Myra Ling Ling Forde,” a spokesperson said.

“It also found no evidence that other officers within Wiltshire were aware of the alleged comment and failed to act upon it.”

A separate probe into alleged historical child sex offences by Sir Edward continues, led by Wiltshire Police at a reported cost of £367,965 so far.

The former Prime Minister, who led the Conservative government between 1970 and 1974, died aged 89 in July 2005.

A spokesperson for the force said a number of people came forward with information being taken “extremely seriously” following a witness appeal in August.

“This led to a wider police investigation being established and we are following a number of lines of enquiry,” he added.

“At this time, the investigation led by Wiltshire Police continues and a panel of independent experts outside of policing is providing ongoing scrutiny of the investigation and its proportionality.

“There has been significant public interest, comment and speculation in relation to the police investigation. 

"We would like to reassure the public that the Force is investigating with an open mind and our purpose is to go where the evidence takes us. 

HEATH: Appeal for information

“Wiltshire Police seeks to be proportionate, impartial and fair, in order to provide the public with confidence in the police response to these allegations.” 

Sixteen officers have been assigned to the investigation, which was described as “proportionate” by Chief Constable Mike Veale in a letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Former friends and colleagues of Sir Edward defended his reputation and criticised the way the inquiry was being handled after he became the most high-profile figure linked to historical abuse allegations last year.

The Metropolitan Police closed its inquiry into claims a VIP Westminster paedophile ring abused children in the 1970s and 80s in March.

Former MP Harvey Proctor, who was among those investigated but told he would face no further action, called for resignations over the £1.8 million probe, which ended without any charges.

It had been triggered by allegations by a man known as “Nick”, whose credibility has subsequently been questioned.