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Ted Heath accused of raping 12-year-old boy

Now 64, he said he was later “fobbed off” by social workers.

Updated 8.03 pm 

FORMER BRITISH PRIME Minister Ted Heath has been drawn into the complex web of historic child sex abuse allegations, after the police police watchdog announced an investigation yesterday.

One daily newspaper led this morning with a man’s claims that he was raped by the later Tory leader when he was just 12.

Source: Channel 4 News/YouTube

The investigation

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said yesterday it would investigate a claim from a retired policeman that prosecution of a person accused of child sex abuse in the 1990s was dropped when they threatened to expose Heath, who died in 2005.

Police appealed for anyone with information about the former Conservative leader, who was prime minister from 1970 to 1974 and led Britain into the European Economic Community.

“If you have been the victim of any crime from Sir Ted Heath or any historical sexual offence, or you are a witness or you have any information about this, then please come forward,” said Superintendent Sean Memory.

Heath is the most senior figure to be named in connection with claims of abuse by prominent figures, which have surged since Jimmy Savile was exposed as a prolific and predatory paedophile after his death in 2011.

While the IPCC’s investigation is into alleged corruption rather than whether Heath committed a crime, the story dominated the UK’s front pages.

The Daily Mirror ran a front page interview with an anonymous man who claimed to have been abused by Heath in 1961 when he was aged 12, only realising the man’s identity four years later when he saw his photograph in a newspaper.

The man, now 64, told the paper he was later “fobbed off” by social workers.

POLITICS Heath/radio Ted Heath, pictured in 1998 Source: EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

The Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation, to which Heath left his property when he died, said it was certain the former prime minister would be exonerated.

“We welcome the investigation by Wiltshire Police, which we wholeheartedly believe will clear Sir Edward’s name and we will cooperate fully with the police in their inquiries,” the statement said.

Metropolitan Police have said this evening that they have received numerous media enquiries following today’s story in the Daily Mirror. They say that they do not confirm nor denying names of any individual who may or may not be part of investigations into historical sexual abuse.

Met Police do, however, say that an allegation of rape was made to them in April of this year. This allegation was investigated and a full statement was taken but it was decided that no lines of enquiry could be followed.

‘Threatened to expose’

Police in Wiltshire, the southwestern English county where Heath was a long-term resident in the city of Salisbury, said that a retired senior police office came forward at the end of 2014.

“The allegation is that a trial was due to take place in the 1990s and information was received in that trial that Sir Ted Heath was involved in the abuse of children,” said Memory.

“The allegation is from the result of that information, that the trial never took place.”

The IPCC is to investigate whether a prosecution was not pursued “when a person threatened to expose that Sir Edward Heath may have been involved in offences concerning children” according to a spokesman for the police watchdog.

Heath PMQ Source: EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

It will also investigate whether officers subsequently took any steps to investigate the claims about Heath, who was knighted in 1992.

The probe by the IPCC is separate to a major, judge-led inquiry into child sexual abuse in British institutions such as the BBC, the National Health Service, children’s homes and schools that was opened last month.

British police said in May they had received allegations of historic child sex abuse against 261 public figures, including 76 politicians.

The inquiry led by a judge into allegations of paedophilia in institutions has cited estimates that around one British child in every 20 has been sexually abused.

 © AFP, 2015. Additional reporting by Daragh Brophy and Rónán Duffy

Read: Watchdog probes handling of child sex abuse claims against former British prime minister

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