Prosecution of brothel keeper not dropped over Heath allegation
There is no evidence a prosecution against a brothel keeper was dropped because of threats to allege publicly that Sir Edward Heath had been involved in sexual offences, an investigation has found.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission launched an inquiry into alleged historical corruption after information from a retired officer raised concerns that Wiltshire Police deliberately caused a criminal prosecution to fail 22 years ago.
It was alleged the defendant had threatened that if the trial went ahead she would tell the press she supplied former prime minister Sir Edward with males under the age of consent for sex.
Investigators examined the circumstances around the outcome of a court case relating to former brothel owner Myra Ling Ling Forde, in February 1994. The IPCC said its investigation “has found no evidence that a prosecution was not pursued because a defendant threatened to allege publicly that Sir Edward Heath had been involved in sexual offences involving young men”.
It also said it found no evidence to support the suggestion that the alleged comment had any bearing on the outcome, and no evidence that other officers within Wiltshire were aware of the alleged comment and failed to act upon it.
The IPCC concluded the trial against Ms Forde was stopped by the prosecution because their witnesses would not attend court or refused to give evidence.
Sir Edward, who led the Conservative government between 1970-74, died at home in July 2005, aged 89.
He became the most high-profile figure linked to historical abuse allegations last year.
After the IPCC investigation was announced, Wiltshire Police appealed for potential victims and others with information to come forward.
In the days that followed, it emerged that a number of other forces were also carrying out inquiries.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Wiltshire Police said: “As a result of the announcement by the IPCC naming Sir Edward Heath, Wiltshire Police felt it was appropriate to make an appeal to the public for any information relating to the allegation.”
Its statement added: “At this time, the investigation led by Wiltshire Police continues and a panel of independent experts outside of policing is providing ongoing scrutiny of the investigation and its proportionality.”
Former friends and colleagues of Sir Edward have rallied to defend his reputation and criticised the way the investigation is being handled.