Police Consulted “Dissociative Identity Disorder” Therapist In Ted Heath Abuse Probe

From the Daily Mail:

The farce over the Sir Edward Heath child abuse inquiry grew yesterday as it emerged that a member of an independent panel scrutinising the probe has been paid to help on the case.

Dr Elly Hanson, a clinical psychologist who specialises in abuse and trauma, received £2,025 for advising Wiltshire Police about two individuals who have made allegations against the late Tory prime minister.

The force subsequently asked her to join a panel of four looking at all aspects of the Operation Conifer probe to help police chiefs ‘consider the ongoing proportionality and justification for the investigation’.

The report goes on to add that Hanson denies any conflict of interest.

It is not known for sure if the “two individuals” she was asked about pertain to the Satanic Ritual Abuse claims against Heath or some other strand of the investigation, but it’s a reasonable assumption: another expert consulted by police stated last week that the SRA claims were “the core strand” that Wiltshire Police “wanted to use to prove Ted Heath’s guilt”.

Further, Hanson is actually a specialist in “Dissociative Identity Disorder”, a diagnosis that implies memories that have been repressed due to trauma, usually childhood sexual abuse. We know that the Heath SRA accusers were a “group” of women, and that the main accuser underwent recovered memory therapy in Canada.

It seems unlikely that Hanson would have advised the police to exercise caution: just last month she gave a presentation at a conference organised by the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation (ESTD), where other speakers included Peter Garsden, a firm believer in the “sacrifce of children” by “secret societies” (as blogged here) and three members of the Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support (RAINS, previously blogged here).

Supposed “recovered memories” have formed the basis for numerous allegations  of Satanic Ritual Abuse. Some background here is provided by by Jeffrey Victor in his 1993 book Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend:

MPD [Multiple Personality Disorder, the old name for Dissociative Identity Disorder] psychotherapists are faced with an ambiguous problem in need of a clear explanation… The Satanic cult legend serves as a substitute for “hard news”, that is, a substitute for a decisive discovery of a cause for the ambiguous symptoms of Multiple Personality Disorder… There is good evidence that MPD patients have a chameleon-like, manipulative personality and feed therapists the kind of stories they feel therapists want to hear. (p. 93)


The “survivor” stories were first given credibility when leading MPD psychiatric authorities publicly professed belief in their plausibility. This happened at the firat national conference of the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality disorder, in 1984. Once authority figures lent credibility to the stories, the process of consensual validation, operating through the psychiatric communication network, reinforced the credibility of the stories. In this network, normal open and public scientific criticism and dispute is discouraged.

…Believing therapists have been articulating the Satanic cult legend in great detail for years, since the mid-1980s, without publishing any empirical research findings in juried scientific journals where the findings can be subjected to scientific cross-examination. (pp. 93-94, 95)

I speculated on how such networks may provide a link between old SRA claims and new false sex abuse allegations against public figures in the UK here.

It is perhaps also relevant to note that at the start of 2016 Hanson gave a presentation at an exhibition called “The Wall of Silence”, which was created to highlight the testimonies of child abuse survivors. One of the exhibition’s promoters, a nurse named Sue Crocombe, believes that Heath must be guilty of sex abuse, and the exhibition blurb makes special reference to “powerful people” supposedly being involved in child sex abuse. This is based on the testimony of the exhibition’s “exemplar” survivor, a man who has made extravagant allegations against politicians.

UPDATE (March 2021): A related op-ed by Richard Hoskins has since been withdrawn by the Mail on Sunday as part of a libel settlement after a claim was brought by Hanson. Her legal representative is quoted in Press Gazette:

“Contrary to what the article alleged, Dr Hanson had not organised the [Wall of Silence] event, did not know Beech would be attending when she accepted an invitation to speak, and, Dr Hanson believes, learned that fact either shortly before or on the day…

“She met Beech at the event, speaking briefly with him in person for the first – and only – time that day for a couple of minutes…”


“Dr Hanson did not in fact express a prejudicial view about Sir Edward Heath prior to joining the Operation Conifer scrutiny panel, as the article also alleged…”