New probe into Ted Heath sex claims will go nationwide: Investigation to launch within days after detectives continue to receive ‘a number of calls’ over allegations against former Prime Minister
- National police investigation into Sir Edward to be launched within days
- Police appeal for alleged victims prompted ‘number of calls’ to detectives
- Forces in Wiltshire, London, Kent, Jersey and Hampshire already probing
A national police investigation into child abuse allegations against Sir Edward Heath is to be launched within days.
The announcement comes after a police appeal over alleged activities of the former prime minister prompted ‘a number of calls’ to detectives.
Forces in Wiltshire, London, Kent, Jersey and Hampshire are already looking into abuse allegations linked to Sir Edward – and others, such as the Police Service of Northern Ireland, are expected to examine claims against the Tory politician, who died aged 89 in 2005.
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A national police investigation into child abuse allegations against Sir Edward Heath is to be launched within a matter of days. It comes after a retired senior detective alleged that charges against brothel keeper ‘Madame Ling-Ling’ (pictured) were dropped in 1992, possibly to cover-up sordid allegations concerning the former PM
Sir Edward (pictured with Cyril Smith) will become the first former PM to be the subject of an national investigation of this kind. The probe into claims against him will be led by either Kent, Wiltshire or Hampshire
Senior officers now want a dedicated force to coordinate a national inquiry. Never before has an ex-PM been the subject of such an investigation.
Wiltshire Police, which on Monday appealed for potential victims to come forward, said it continued to receive a ‘number of calls’ yesterday.
The probe’s scope widened after the Independent Police Complaints Commission announced an inquiry into allegations that a prosecution was shelved more than 20 years ago after a threat was made to ‘expose’ Sir Edward.
It is believed the national police inquiry into claims against him will be led by either Kent, Wiltshire or Hampshire.
A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said last night: ‘Staff from Operation Hydrant [an ongoing police inquiry into alleged child sex abuse by ‘prominent public persons’] are working closely with relevant forces to assess the extent of reported information concerning the late Sir Edward Heath, and at the conclusion of that process a lead force will be appointed to oversee the police investigations.’
It is thought former police protection officers, ex-Special Branch officers and retired security services staff could be quizzed for the unprecedented probe.
Abuse claims against Sir Edward will be prioritised according to the perceived credibility of alleged victims and the existence of any corroborating evidence.
It was revealed yesterday that the independent public inquiry into historic child sex abuse will look at allegations against Sir Edward ‘should the facts justify it’. A spokesman for the inquiry, led by Justice Lowell Goddard, said it was ‘in close contact’ with Operation Hydrant.
The upgrading of the police inquiry into Sir Edward was revealed hours after brothel keeper ‘Madame Ling-Ling’ broke cover to deny threatening to expose him as a paedophile.
Brothel keeper Myra Forde, 67, was jailed in 1995 for six years for recruiting girls as young as 13 to be prostitutes at her Salisbury home (left). She later moved to a property in Kilburn, north west London (right)
Wiltshire Police is being investigated over claims the force covered up child sex allegations against the former Tory leader (pictured above alongside paedophile Jimmy Savile during a rehearsal for a Jim’ll Fix It episode)
The Filipino grandmother, 67, issued a statement insisting he was never one of her clients.
She spoke out as it emerged she used to force girls as young as 13 to work in her brothel – a mile from the politician’s home in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
A former associate has called her a ‘compulsive liar’, and in 1995 a judge described her as ‘thoroughly unscrupulous’ as he jailed her for ‘running a festering sore of vice’.
Sources this week claimed Madame Ling-Ling, real name Myra Ling-Ling Forde, was ‘at the centre of the child abuse claims concerning Sir Edward’. A retired senior detective alleged that charges against her were dropped in 1992 possibly to cover-up sordid allegations concerning Sir Edward.
Brothel keeper Myra Forde, 67, was jailed twice for being a linchpin in the Salisbury sex trade but denies having former PM Sir Edward Heath as a client
But Forde’s former solicitor Richard Griffiths said: ‘My firm acted for Myra Forde in relation to the case which the prosecution discontinued … [she] wishes me to make it very clear that at no stage did she state Ted Heath was a client and at no stage did she threaten to expose him as a client.’
He added that Forde ‘wishes me to make it clear that she had no involvement with Ted Heath … and has no knowledge of any misconduct on his part’.
Mr Griffiths suggested the 1992 case against her may have been dropped because of prosecution ‘witness problems’.
Yesterday Forde, of north-west London, declined to elaborate. The mother of two did not wish to discuss claims by her sister Mia that she had ‘known many politicians’. Forde was jailed in 1995 for six years for recruiting girls as young as 13 to be prostitutes at her Salisbury home.
Judge Martin Tucker told her: ‘You were thoroughly unscrupulous, running a festering sore of vice … [the girls] were vulnerable and were corrupted.’ Detective Constable Jill Harkness said at the time: ‘Myra Ling-Ling Forde was extremely manipulative and ruthless … They [the girls] suffered a terrible ordeal.’
In 2009, Forde was jailed for five years for the same offence.
Yesterday a source close to her second husband said of Forde: ‘She used to boast about how she used to know lots of rich men … [and] tell me they were “high-up”. She is a compulsive liar.’
The IPCC said of Forde’s denial: ‘We are aware an individual has come forward.
‘We are not prepared to confirm or deny whether that individual forms part of what is an ongoing investigation.’
Learn more about Edward Heath and child abuse