Ted Heath: A Note on Clive Driscoll’s “2001” Accuser and the Satanic Ritual Abuse Claims

From the Guardian, 11 August 2015:

A former senior detective has said police received allegations of child sex abuse made against Sir Edward Heath in 2001 – while the former prime minister was still alive.

…An alleged victim, a woman, was interviewed by Clive Driscoll. He was then a detective inspector [with the Metropolitan Police] and in 2012 secured convictions against Stephen Lawrence’s murderers. He retired last year having reached the rank of detective chief inspector…

Driscoll told the Guardian the woman he interviewed said she had been abused as a child by a group of people, including Heath on multiple occasions: “The person was 100% sure they were talking about Ted Heath. She totally believed what she was saying and that’s where the investigation starts, not where it stops.”

The woman claimed the abuse happened at a time after Heath had served as prime minister. Driscoll said others made similar abuse allegations, but he was not asked to take statements from them.

…Driscoll said he was asked to interview the complainant by a serious sexual offences steering group set up by Scotland Yard to review abuse claims.

He said: “My guess is it was not followed up properly, but I don’t know. The culture at the time would have been not to believe them.”

In November 2016, it was revealed that Wiltshire Police had contacted a researcher to assess an allegation that Heath had been involved in murderous Satanic rituals. That researcher, Rachel Hoskins (aka Richard Hoskins), went public, concerned that Operation Conifer, Wiltshire Police’s investigation into historical allegations of sex abuse against Heath, was giving credence to fantastical stories based on supposed “memories” recovered during therapy. Hoskins gave an account in the Mail on Sunday, referring to the woman as “Lucy X”:

The stories that Lucy X began ‘remembering’ took her back to her childhood in Britain and in Africa. At first the detail in her diaries is scant. But Lucy’s descriptions grow ever more detailed under hypnosis: satanic ritual abuse in empty houses, in churches and on Salisbury Plain.

Eventually she ‘remembered’ that members of the paedophile ring had gorged themselves on blood and body parts. They maimed and murdered children in orgiastic sacrifices at the stake or on altars.

“Lucy X” reported this to police in 1989, but no investigation followed. Heath apparently came into her story much later:

Lucy soon spoke with three other women she knew well. They met and swapped fantastical tales.

Earlier this year they would ‘remember’ that Heath was a prime mover in a network of sadistic paedophile abusers.

He had apparently taken part in rituals surrounded by candles on the forest floor.

The National Post ran a follow-up piece about “Lucy’s” Canadian therapist, which I discussed here.

At face value, there seem to be two female accusers: one reported Heath in 2001 as having been involved with “a group” committing sex abuse, and another remembered him in early 2016 as having been involved in Satanic Ritual Abuse. However, I’m inclined to the view that Hoskins either made an error or was working from incomplete notes, and that both reports in fact refer to the same woman. In both instances, we have a reference to Heath being involved with a group, and a suggestion of other complainants connected to the main accuser.

I would reconcile the accounts by suggesting that the woman reported being a victim of Satanic Ritual Abuse in 1989. She added Heath to her complaint in 2001 [*See UPDATE 2 below], and then made contact with police again in 2016, after Wiltshire Police established Operation Conifer. It is worth noting that her approach to police in 2001 came three years after the publication of David Icke’s opus The Biggest Secret (1998), which accused Heath of Satanism (and of being a shape-shifting reptile).

So why wasn’t Satanism mentioned in the 2015 Guardian article? I asked the article’s author, Vikram Dodd, on Twitter – he replied that the piece was “about one complainant” and that “No mention made of satanic abuse in the account of their complaint given by Mr Driscoll”. So, either there were indeed two separate complainants, or Driscoll held back from giving Dodd a full unexpurgated account for some reason.

There is a further piece of context here: Driscoll is a firm believer in the reality of Satanic Ritual Abuse, and he has a long-standing association with Valerie Sinason, a psychotherapist who claims to have detected signs of Satanic Ritual Abuse in many patients (she insists that her method doesn’t amount to “recovered memory” techniques, although the distinction is opaque). According to Private Eye magazine in 2006 (issue 1116), Driscoll interviewed “76 children and adult victims” identified by Sinason in 2000; although nothing was ever substantiated, the two went on to collaborate, with Sinason interviewing Driscoll for a chapter in the second edition of her edited volume Attachment, Trauma and Multiplicity: Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder (Routledge, 2011). Driscoll was also involved with the Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support (RAINS).

It seems to me that if there are indeed two complainants here, then there has been a remarkable coincidence: an officer with a particular interest in SRA interviewed a woman who alleged that Heath was part of a child-sex abuse group, and then someone else independently happened to make an explicit SRA allegation against Heath later on. And in both instances, the main female complainant was supported by “others” or “other women”.

Alternatively, however, as soon as Driscoll’s name was raised in relation to allegations against Heath we might have expected an SRA claim to emerge into public view.

Which scenario is more likely?

UPDATE (30 September 2017): A new Guardian article by Vikram Dodd confirms that Driscoll has been in direct contact with Wiltshire Police (hyperlink in original):

Wiltshire police will release a report into the claims against Heath next week following a two-year inquiry, and its conclusion means that if the politician had still been alive he may have been formally interviewed by detectives under criminal caution…

One former detective said he had received a claim of sexual abuse by Heath while the former prime minister was still alive.

Former Scotland Yard detective chief inspector Clive Driscoll, who masterminded the breakthrough that captured Stephen Lawrence’s killers, said Wiltshire teams visited him, and he praised their professionalism: “The detectives who came to see me were dedicated, with no axe to grind, and interested only in seeking the truth.”

The hyperlink clicks through to Dodd’s 2015 article, but the new article does not itself clarify that Driscoll is referring to an allegation made a woman and relating to a group. And once again, there is no reference to Satanic Ritual Abuse, even though this is a subject that Dodd should have asked Driscoll about given Hoskins’s disclosure.

The claim that Heath would have been interviewed under caution were it not for the fact that he’s been dead since 2005 was widely noted several days before Dodd’s latest report; I have discussed the coverage here.

UPDATE 2 (5 October 2017): The Operation Conifer Summary Report now clarifies that Heath was mentioned in 1989, notwithstanding the “earlier this year they would ‘remember’ that Heath…” statement in the Mail on Sunday:

The military strand of Operation Conifer included a review and re-examination of case papers from 1989 relating to a criminal investigation concerning allegations made against two of the victims’ parents. During this review a note was found on the case papers that indicated that one of the victims had also mentioned to investigators in 1989 that they had been allegedly abused by Sir Edward Heath.

Although this is in reference to the “military strand” rather than the “ritual abuse strand”, Lucy X’s family background with the military was discussed in July 2017, in an article that suggested a possible crossover with Operation Midland’s “Nick”. I discussed this here.

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