Mail on Sunday Reveals Details of Edward Heath Child Sex Abuse Allegations

Also: Questions about briefing given to Andrew Bridgen MP

Less than a week before Wiltshire Police finally publishes its summary report into allegations of child sex abuse against former Prime Minister Edward Heath, the Mail on Sunday has now given an overview of what the report will say:

  • 42 claims of child sex abuse[,] includ[ing] at least one rape of an underage boy. Most alleged victims were boys aged 11 to 15;
  • Some were rent boys or from ‘low-life’ backgrounds. Others were boys he encountered elsewhere. Nine of the 42 claims were already on police files, in some cases for decades, but had been dismissed;
  • Allegations date from the mid- 1950s when he was Chief Whip to the 1990s when he was in his 70s;
  • Places where alleged crimes occurred are generally referred to as ‘public places’. At least one is said to have happened in a hotel.  Two allegations were made by ‘senior professionals’.

…The inquiry was told by a retired Wiltshire policeman that plans to prosecute an individual in the 1990s were dropped when the person threatened to claim in court that they had procured rent boys for Sir Edward.

Last week (as I discussed here), the same paper said that “sources” had confirmed that Heath would have been interviewed under caution on seven of the counts; this was treated as a particularly sensational detail, although in terms of evidence it means very little in itself.

The Sunday Telegraph has reported this as there being “seven allegations which Wiltshire police have been unable to disprove”. This is an overstatement – in fact, only six allegations appear to have been rejected outright. According to the MoS, the allegations were placed into various categories:

1. Seven ‘victims’ whose accounts would warrant interviewing him under caution, including the alleged rape of a boy.

2. Sixteen ‘vulnerable’ cases whose accounts fall just short of similar action due to an ‘element of undermining evidence’, including fading memory.

3. Ten cases including ‘third parties’ – complainants who said others had been abused by Sir Edward but not themselves. When police tracked down the alleged victims in these cases they gave the same account, but named other individuals as being the person who had been abused. It is thought that they wanted to expose Sir Edward without admitting he had assaulted them. It includes people who are married with children and want to put the matter behind them but felt compelled to act as well.

4. Six cases including one individual who is to be prosecuted over three bogus claims. Three others withdrew complaints.

5. Three complaints were made anonymously.

It’s not clear why this list includes speculative commentary about the motives of the Category 3 complainants, especially when the two “senior professionals” may have been passing along testimony rather than speaking as direct witnesses (see below).

The Sunday Times, meanwhile, takes a middle path, stating that “only seven were deemed ‘credible’ or gave accounts that could not be disproved”. Of course, it is possible that someone who is credible may nevertheless make a false or mistaken allegation, just as someone who lacks credibility may have true testimony. The general basis for the investigation will probably never be comprehensively proven or debunked.

The Mail on Sunday could have done a better job at linking its material to previous reports on the subject: one of the former “rent boys” is probably the “1961 accuser” (whom I discussed here), while the 1990s “dropped trial” claim is very definitely the Myra Forde “brothel” allegation (which I discussed here).

One of the “senior professionals” seems to have been the retired detective chief inspector Clive Driscoll, who recently told the Guardian that he had been contacted by Wiltshire Police. Driscoll says that he dealt with a female complainant in 2001 – this was probably “Lucy X”, who more recently alleged that she was abused by Heath in the context of Satanic Ritual Abuse. The MoS made a big splash with the SRA allegations last November, but they have now disappeared from view – even though they very likely formed the basis for two arrests last year that were eventually dropped.

So how is it that the Mail on Sunday has been given advance access? It seems completely at odds with Chief Constable Mike Veale’s supposedly principled refusal to make any public statement in advance of the report, and his various exhortations to the media and the public not to speculate. The Sunday Telegraph article explains:

Wiltshire’s chief constable is facing calls for an inquiry by the police watchdog over why he showed a confidential report into Sir Edward Heath to a Conservative MP in a constituency 120 miles away.

Mike Veale, who is overseeing the £1.5 million investigation into allegations Heath was a paedophile, is accused of handing the report to Andrew Bridgen, the Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire.

Some details said to be contained in the report were subsequently leaked to newspapers.

Mr Bridgen is understood to have met a number of journalists for off-the-record briefings. One newspaper reported he had seen an early draft.

This was noted in last week’s Sunday Times, although the detail was overshadowed by the report’s emphasis on Veale’s contact with a conspiracy theorist who has served time in prison for harassment related to his activism. The matter was raised formally by James Gray MP; according to the paper:

In his response, Mr Veale did not deny the report had been shown to an MP but said officers had met with a “number of trusted stakeholders”.

Mr Veale wrote: “This investigation has been subject to significant public scrutiny, speculation and unhelpful commentary which on occasions I believe has been with a motivation to undermine the professionalism and integrity of Wiltshire police.

“In order for the report to be balanced, fair, measured and accurate, colleagues have engaged with a number of trusted stakeholders and we will continue to do so until this report is published.”

It is not clear, though, why Bridgen would be such a “stakeholder”, or even what the term means in this context. The impression is that Veale has been strategically leaking details for reputational purposes.

Bridgen is an all-purpose rent-a-quote MP (1); it is therefore something of a surprise that the report does not include a comment from the man himself, but ends with the sentence:

The Sunday Telegraph has contacted Mr Bridgen for comment.


(1) In recent weeks he has opined publicly that is “totally inappropriate” for the National Trust to be promoting gay rights; that he has “no idea” why John Lewis is selling children’s clothes as gender neutral; that police have “more important things to investigate” than a car being accidentally splashed with water from a watering can; and that “people will be shocked” by the proportion of National Lottery grants that go to Scotland. Etc, etc.

13 Responses

  1. From Clive Driscoll’s book:

    “I began speaking to other patients at Dr Sinason’s Clinic for Dissociative Studies. Because of their conditions I often heard the same story three or four times from one person – but that wasn’t the only repetition. The same stories also kept being told to me by patient after patient. They were adults now but, as children or young women, they told me they’d been abducted, taken to places and raped as part of some kind of ritual by men and women in masks and cloaks. But the [bloody useless] masks didn’t always cover entire faces. Like Sue, a number of the patients could identify some of their assailants as public figures. Some of them were exactly the same public figures Sue had seen.

    The crossover was unbelievable. I spoke to people from all over the country and the same scenarios featuring the same names kept popping up…”

    Driscoll then introduces us to ‘Vicky’ whose story of packs of hellhounds hunting kids in the forest also made it to The Express:

    Further highlights would seem to include chanting robe ‘n’ animal mask wearing gang raping politicians & “other known people” in Lambeth:

    “Before speaking to her [the alleged victim] I decided to research child abuse. I found an expert, a therapist called Dr Valerie Sinason…”

  2. “But the [bloody useless] masks”

    Satanists who were both fiendishly clever but also hilariously incompetent!

  3. Let’s hope that the #OpDeatheaters brief was thorough and all of the victims were able to identify Ted Heath’s one particularly distinguishing mark!

  4. I am reading that Heath had two different registration number plates for one of his cars. I am a sceptic on the allegations but it has to be admitted that that is rather strange.

    • I saw that, it was leaked to Watts. Watts says it was an “irregular arrangement”, which implies that this was approved for some reason, rather than that they’ve found a pair of false plates.

      Assuming it’s true, my first guess would be that this was an anti-IRA security measure of some sort. Or perhaps it was simply an administrative error, particularly if he had personalised plates. If the point was so that he get up to no good discreetly, surely his face would have been more of a problem than his car registration number?

      We’re probably going to be given a number of suggestive anomalies tomorrow, presented as selective case for the prosecution.

      • “Assuming it’s true, my first guess would be that this was an anti-IRA security measure of some sort. Or perhaps it was simply an administrative error, particularly if he had personalised plates. ”

        Indeed, a third possibility that occurs to me is that he might had separate Jersey plates during that period when he spent 6 months (approx) on the island.

  5. It’s much more likely that Heath had personalised plates than 6 months in Jersey, his autobiography makes no mention of those 6 months in Jersey that has been alleged elsewhere. The vehicle having two registrations logged to it is also potentially routine in high profile protection cases in order to deflect terrorists as Richard pointed out above. Have to remember times were very different in the 60s and 70s and there were several attempts on Heath (and others) lives. Tbh I’m surprised there were only 2 registrations…

  6. Of course, Linda Corby could be mistaken in her recollections. But the fact that she has gone to the trouble of making another report to the Jersey police (she claims she had previously done so in the 1970s) does demonstrate that she genuinely believes what she is saying (as she is not claiming that she personally was abused by TH, she has no personal vested interest like a potential compo claim against his estate or something of that nature. )

    • Really, TDF! Linda Corby is an ebook publishing attention seeker who now CLAIMS to have reported the possibility that a boat she bizarrely decided to observe had later returned to shore with a boy missing (though she wasn’t absolutely sure):

      “Earlier this year author, Linda Corby, told the Daily Mirror how she and another local politician, who has since died, made two statements to police in the 1970s.”

      Why would anyone choose to believe this daft nonsense? The police can’t find the statements as they were never made. Or maybe I’m being unfair… I’m off to peruse her snappily-titled blockbuster, “Zoom Into Profit: The Truth About Entrepreneurs With No Ridiculous Claims And No B.S.” to see if Heath gets a mention… hmmm, a couple of pages in and “they” are already stealing her fantastic get-rich-quick schemes and some other “theys” are worried she’s about to expose those business secrets of the pharoahs:

      Another nutter. Obviously.

  7. Extract from the Witness Statement of Leonard Harper, former Deputy Head of the Jersey Police, provided to the Jersey Care Inquiry

    “263. I would also like to confirm, for the record, that during my investigations into
    . child abuse on the island of Jersey, I received no allegations against Jimmy
    • Savile or Sir Edward Heath. I understand that both of these have
    ·subsequently been linked to the island of Jersey. I do however know that Sir
    Edward Heath was a frequent visitor to the island and a member of the
    boating community.”

    • Linda Corby must’ve been busy behind her word-processor at the time the screaming frontpages begged for HDLG-gossip to be reported to the credulous Loony Harper, eh?

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