A former brothel keeper at the centre of the Sir Edward Heath child sex scandal has claimed that she arranged male escorts for him – but insisted that the former prime minister was not a paedophile.
Myra Ling-Ling Forde said Sir Edward was a “shy, gay man” and that she believed seven police forces investigating abuse claims against the late politician would find no evidence.
Forde, 67, has denied claims that she threatened to expose him before a prosecution against her collapsed in the early 1990s. Her former lawyer previously said that she had had no involvement with Sir Edward and “no knowledge of any misconduct on his part”.
But in an interview with the Sun yesterday, Forde said: “I knew Edward Heath in the early 1990s and provided young men for him. But he was not into sex with children.
“He was just a very secretive and shy gay man. It was impossible for someone in his position to be openly gay at the time so he came to me.”
Forde claimed the pair first came into contact when the former Conservative leader called her about an advert in the Salisbury Journal in 1990.
He initially told her his name was ‘John’ and went on to pay £500 a time for meetings with foreign male escorts.
Forde said she arranged two meetings with one escort but on a third occasion, when the first escort was unavailable, she asked to meet ‘John’ to collect the £500 before making the booking.
She said ‘John’ seemed uneasy but agreed that she could come to the back door of his house. Forde said she did not recognise the former prime minister at the time but realised who he was a few days later when she saw his picture in a newspaper.
When she told Sir Edward she knew his real identity, he apparently broke off contact.
She said: “He was specific that he wanted men over 21 and under 30 and I was happy to help him as I didn’t see anything wrong with providing that service.
“He was not a paedophile – he was gay. People should stop blackening his name.”
Earlier, Wiltshire Police confirmed it would lead inquiries by seven forces into historical allegations.
The force is being investigated over a shelved prosecution reportedly involving Forde.
Her former lawyer has said the case was dropped due to a lack of evidence.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is also looking into whether Wiltshire Police subsequently followed up the claim against Sir Edward, allegedly made in the 1990s.
Forde, a Filipino, was later convicted on two occasions of offences related to running a brothel in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Sir Edward, who led the Conservative government between 1970 and 1974, died at his home in Salisbury, aged 89, in 2005.