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, 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 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, added Heath to her complaint in 2001, and then made contact with police again in 2016, after Wiltshire Police established Operation Conifer.
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 in due course.
Which scenario is more likely?