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The main allegations against Ted Heath

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Police investigated sex abuse claims against Edward Heath made by dead people

The nature of these crimes, let's call them alleged crimes, is such that numerous victims of these kinds of crimes find it extremely hard to come forward for a whole range of reasons, and it's not in the least unusual that once somebody has passed away that the victims feel free, able and safe to actually come forward and to speak about what happened in the past. Three of the claims related to "paid sexual encounters".

He added, however, that police had reached no conclusion as to the guilt of Sir Edward, who died in 2005, and it would be inappropriate to do so. None of these concern the period during which Heath was prime minister.

Sir Edward was in power between 1970 and 1974.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said it would consider Wiltshire Police's report.

For much of this decade the British media and police have focused on a string of scandals involving child sexual abuse, often decades old, perpetrated by powerful people. Sputnik spoke to an expert who said there was "credible evidence" Heath had abused young boys. Other allegations include one of rape of a male under 16, three of indecent assault on a male under 16, four of indecent assault on a male under 14, and two of indecent assault on a male over 16.

Claim: Heath allegedly indecently assaulted a 15-year-old boy during a chance encounter in a public building.

None of the allegations for which Sir Edward would have been questioned relate to when he was prime minister. In total the alleged incidents span 31 years, from 1956 to 1992.

"All those who knew Sir Edward Heath or worked with him are, without exception, convinced that the allegations of child abuse will all be found to be groundless", they said.

Wilshire Police said its conduct was scrutinised by an independent panel and a "value for money" review by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, which found no wrongdoing.

"In July 2017, IICSA issued a notice to Wiltshire Police under Section 21 of the Inquiries Act 2005 requesting a copy of the "Senior Investigating Officer Investigation Closure Report" and a copy of the "Operation Conifer Summary Closure Report".

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, this week defended Sir Edward.

One of the people was cautioned by officers while another is now being investigated.

Chief Constable Veale described the report's publication as a "watershed moment" for victims who have complained of cover-ups of child sex abuse committed by state figures.

In two cases, the report reveals, there is evidence to suggest those making the claims "may have attempted to intentionally mislead the police" in naming Sir Edward as their abuser.

"It would be an indefensible dereliction of my public duty ... not to have investigated such serious allegations against a former prime minister even though he was deceased". The police said no inference of guilt could be drawn about the allegations and Heath's godson, Lincoln Seligman, said he did not believe any of the claims. Presumption of innocence was enshrined in the law, Veale said.

Garnier said that police forces were embarking upon unnecessary inquiries into high profile abuse as they struggle to recover their reputations following the failure to prosecute the former BBC personality Jimmy Savile. "Wiltshire Police have sent their evidence to them", he told Sputnik.

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