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Former UK PM would be questioned over rape

Former UK PM would be questioned over rape

Operation Conifer was launched outside Heath's former home with an appeal for victims to come forward.

"The publication of the report today is therefore helpful in precisely outlining the allegations made against the former Prime Minister".

But it does not reach a conclusion on whether the allegations were in fact true.

The investigation dealt with 42 claims in total.

.

He is also being looked at by Operation Whistle, which is looking at historic child abuse in Jersey, and was named during Operation Midland which investigated but dismissed claims of a VIP paedophile ring in Westminster.

The alleged assaults are said to have taken place in various areas of the South of England between 1961 and 1992. Heath was MP for Sidcup at the time.

Operation Conifer was a national investigation, led by Wiltshire Police on behalf of the National Police Service, into allegations of non-recent child abuse made against Sir Edward.

Heath led a Conservative government in the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and served in Parliament until 2001.

The announcement by Wiltshire police was immediately criticised by Heath's family and supporters, who accused the force of "covering their backs at the expense of a dead man".

The report revealed that there was "reason to suspect" two people may have "intentionally misled" the police by alleging that they were abused by Sir Edward.

Sir Edward was in power between 1970 and 1974.

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Police said the allegations would have led to Heath being interviewed under caution.

'In the meantime, a fundamental, time-honoured principle should be respected, namely that a man is innocent until he is proven guilty.

However, Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North-West Leicestershire, spoke in support of the work of Wiltshire Police and its chief constable Mike Veale.

"(He) was an extremely prominent, influential and high-profile person, arguably one of the most powerful people in the world", he said.

"Likewise, it is equally as important for people not to speculate about the veracity of the allegations against Sir Edward Heath".

"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 investigation opened when a brothel owner suggested she had information concerning Heath and the abuse of children, however, whether she made the statement or not was put into review. None of the seven alleged offences took place during his tenure as prime minister.

Then again in 1964, Heath allegedly indecently assaulted another boy during three paid sexual encounters while he was secretary of state for industry.

In 1967, indecently assaulting a 15-year-old male in private "during a chance encounter in a public building".

Following a two-year investigation, officers said that Heath is alleged to have raped an 11-year-old boy during a paid sexual encounter. Police did not receive any complaints of alleged sexual abuse by Sir Edward during his lifetime.

The allegations included child sexual abuse and rape and indecent assault, physical abuse and sexual abuse against an adult.

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