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Sir Edward Heath abuse claims

Sir Edward Heath abuse claims

Sir Edward Heath died in 2005 and served as the United Kingdom's prime minister between 1970 and 1974.

The police report into claims Sir Edward Heath sexually abused children says that seven allegations of rape and sexual assault would have merited his interview under criminal caution had he still been alive.

One of the alleged victims was 10 years old, and another was an 11-year-old he paid for sex, a police report released on Thursday said. This, again, was said to have been during a paid encounter.

Heath died at his home in Salisbury in July 2005 aged 89, which means the claims against him can not be heard at trial and prosecutors can not say whether or not they would have brought charges.

Former British Prime Minister Edward Heath announces his retirement from the House of Commons, in 2000.

A representative for the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation did not respond to an email seeking comment on Thursday.

The allegations made against Heath 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.

After his time as prime minister, Heath allegedly indecently assaulted an adult male at a public event in 1976. In total the alleged incidents span 31 years, from 1956 to 1992.

In a statement, Former Cabinet Secretary Lord Armstrong of Ilminster and Lord Hunt of Wirral said: "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".

Additionally, it is vital that no inference of guilt be drawn even though he would have been questioned. Many other charges were dismissed in the report.

Police interviewed Sir Edward's personal police protection officers, his drivers and staff - and also reviewed his private papers held at the Bodleian Library.

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Operation Conifer was launched after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated claims that Wiltshire police had deliberately caused a criminal prosecution against a suspected brothel keeper to collapse in 1994.

Another boy aged 15 allegedly indecently assaulted in a chance meeting in a public building in Guernsey in 1967 when Heath was Tory Party leader.

"The safeguarding and protection of vulnerable people will continue to be out primary reasons for conducting this investigation".

"The allegations against him were of the utmost seriousness and from a significant number of people", 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.

The summary report from Wiltshire Police will be published later this morning.

'I believe this was the right moral, ethical and professional thing to do, but I appreciate that every case needs to be judged on its own merits.

In a further statement, Bishop Holtam said: "The investigation by Wiltshire Police has been very challenging".

"My team has not deviated from this legal and professional responsibility", Veale said.

"The investigation has been subject to scrutiny throughout from a panel of independent members of the public whose role it was to check and test the decision making and approach of the investigation team".

But they added "there is an unavoidable gap in the evidence with regard to Sir Edward Heath".