A former senior detective has said police received allegations of child sex abuse made against Sir Edward Heath in 2001 – while the former prime minister was still alive.
The alleged victims were unhappy with Scotland Yard’s response, it is claimed.
An alleged victim, a woman, was interviewed by Clive Driscoll. He was then a detective inspector and in 2012 secured convictions against Stephen Lawrence’s murderers. He retired last year having reached the rank of detective chief inspector.
Last week Wiltshire police began investigating claims against Heath and on Tuesday it was announced that the force would coordinate and lead police lines of inquiry into whether Heath was a child sex offender, despite being under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission over its previous handling of similar claims. The Wiltshire force has made an appeal for anyone who believes they may have been a victim of the former Conservative leader to come forward.
Driscoll told the Guardian the woman he interviewed said she had been abused as a child by a group of people, including Heath on multiple occasions: “The person was 100% sure they were talking about Ted Heath. She totally believed what she was saying and that’s where the investigation starts, not where it stops.”
The woman claimed the abuse happened at a time after Heath had served as prime minister. Driscoll said others made similar abuse allegations, but he was not asked to take statements from them.
Heath died in 2005, aged 89, and since the claims against him became public last week, his supporters have denied them. They have also said his reputation after a life of public service was being besmirched without him having the chance to answer.
Driscoll said he was asked to interview the complainant by a serious sexual offences steering group set up by Scotland Yard to review abuse claims.
He said: “My guess is it was not followed up properly, but I don’t know. The culture at the time would have been not to believe them.”
Driscoll said the claims were passed to a child protection team.
He added: “We only seem to take it seriously when they are dead. It’s no more than they are working on now, and now we are jumping through hoops.”
Driscoll said those close to people who said they were attacked by Heath were unhappy with the police response to their claims.
Driscoll was picked for the task of interviewing the complainant, having been moved off a child sex abuse investigation in Lambeth, south London, after unearthing claims a Labour party figure may have been involved.
On Tuesday night there was no comment from the Metropolitan police.
One police force is already under investigation for botching its handling of claims that Heath was a child sex abuser. The IPCC is investigating the Wiltshire force over what it did after learning of the claims in the mid 1990s. It is alleged the claims came from someone facing a criminal charge, which the person has since denied.
At least seven forces have received claims relating to Heath and child sex abuse. The Wiltshire force will decide the scale of the investigation, amid concerns from some senior officers that inquiries into Heath should be limited because he can never stand trial.
Chief constable Simon Bailey, national policing lead for child protection, said the fact Heath was dead did not detract from the need for a thorough investigation, which could find out if he was an offender and whether he had accomplices who were still alive.
Bailey said: “It is vital that the police investigate allegations of sexual abuse thoroughly and proportionately, whether the alleged crimes took place last week or many years ago.
“Victims who report abuse by someone who is now dead have the same expectation that their allegations will be taken seriously and that they will have recourse to justice.
“Police also need to determine whether the alleged offender may have worked with others who are still alive and could pose a risk today.”
Bailey added that “proportionate resources will be used when investigating someone who has died.”
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As a working premises, Bute House, in Charlotte Square, is liable for business rates of around £36,752, which is paid by the Scottish Government. Both Ms Sturgeon and predecessor Alex Salmond criticised former Labour leader Jack McConnell for failing to pay the levy when he lived there.Before being swept to power, Mr Salmond pledged to start paying the tax if he led the Nationalists to victory in 2007.
Nicola Sturgeon is accused of not paying council tax in her Edinburgh home
He accused Mr McConnell of “setting a bad example” while Ms Sturgeon called it “absolutely outrageous”.But neither have lived up to the promise.
As Scots prepared to vote in today’s council elections, Tories urged Ms Sturgeon to rethink her stance. It comes after many local authorities increased council tax by three per cent in April following the end of the decade-long freeze. All households in Bands E-H also pay significantly more because of Government reforms. The changes leave some families £612 a year worse off.
The SNP countered by explaining the property pay 10 times more than a residential home
Highlighting the SNP’s abandoned pledge to scrap the levy Miles Briggs, the Scottish Conservatives’ general election candidate in Edinburgh South West, said: “It appears that the only person the SNP have abolished council tax for is their own leader.
This is another example of the SNP saying one thing and doing another
“This is another example of the SNP saying one thing and doing another. The First Minister should not be an exception. If Nicola Sturgeon thinks her council tax system is fair she should pay it like everyone else.“Under the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon has become the only person in the country to legally dodge the council tax.”
The SNP lambasted Mr McConnell when it emerged that he did not pay the levy on the A-listed property’s private living quarters.
Sturgeon: May is trying to make the EU the ‘BOGEY MAN’
Ms Sturgeon and Alex Salmond previously attacked Jack McConnell for failing to pay the levy
In October 2006, Ms Sturgeon said: “It is absolutely outrageous.“It is his government that expects pensioners to pay sky-high council tax and I don’t think people will be too happy that he is getting off the hook himself.”
Previous Prime Ministers have paid the levy on Downing Street even though Number 10 was also subject to business rates. Theresa May also pays council tax.
If Bute House was classified as a domestic property, it would fall into the H band of council tax for homes worth more than £212,000. This would make occupants liable for £2,949.97 this year. On that basis, Ms Sturgeon could have paid £5,701.16 since she succeeded Mr Salmond in 2014.
Some Scottish families have been left £600 a year poorer because of Ms Sturgeon’s council tax hikes
The former First Minister was previously said to have asked officials if Bute House, which is owned by the National Trust for Scotland, could be split into business and residential sections.But he was told such a move would see Edinburgh Council lose a greater sum in business rates than it would gain in council tax.
A spokesman for Ms Sturgeon said: “This is a boomerang attack from the Tories who seem unaware that this issue was examined in detail some time ago.
“By designating Bute House as a commercial property and paying business rates, the City of Edinburgh Council receives more than ten times the revenue than if it were a residential property paying council tax.
“No doubt the Tories would accuse us of tax avoidance were we to pursue such a path – and only the Tory party could be inept enough to call for the City of Edinburgh Council to be stripped of tens of thousands of pounds in non-domestic rates funding the day before a council election.”
Father begs judges to reveal details of his decade-long family court battle with his ex over access to their child
- He has been fighting for acces to his daughter, who is approaching 10th birthday
- Father from Norwich said he has spent £500,000 on lawyers during case
- Despite this, not one ruling by numberous judges has ever been published
- He spoke out after report revealed people have a ‘patchy understanding’ of family justice system
A father who has spent the last decade battling with his ex over access to their child has called on judges to reveal details of his case.
The man, from Norwich, says the fight began shortly after the birth of his daughter, who is now approaching her 10th birthday, and is still going on now.
He says he has spent more than £500,000 on lawyers and dozens of hearings have been staged in six courts in two different areas of England before numerous judges.
The father has called for a senior High Court judge to look into the case and publish details
But he says every hearing has been held in private and not one judge’s ruling has been published, in spite of judicial heads launching a drive for family court transparency.
He has raised concern in the wake of a report which said people were being left with a ‘patchy understanding’ of the family justice system in England and Wales because judges were not consistently following guidance on the publication of case rulings.
Academics at Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics published the report in March.
They gathered data three years after judicial heads issued guidance to family court judges following ‘secrecy’ complaints.
He said he wanted to spend more time with the girl and she wanted to spend more time with him. He says judges have not listened to the girl
The man said his daughter lived with her mother.
He said he wanted to spend more time with his child and she wanted to spend more time with him.He says judges have not listened to the girl.
He said he would like Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, to read his case file.
‘I’d like Sir James to see if he thinks the process has been fair and transparent,’ said the man. I don’t think justice has been done to me.
The father does not believe justice has been served and wants details of the case published
‘More importantly I don’t think justice has been done to my daughter. I would like rulings to be published, anonymously, from my case.’
The man said hundreds if not thousands of fathers were involved in similar cases.
‘People should be given some idea of what happens so that lessons are learned,’ he said.
‘In my case, there have been hearings in the North East and in East Anglia. I’ve probably been represented by 10 barristers, including two QCs.
‘There have been complaints about judges and applications for them not to oversee hearings. Nothing has ever been published.’
Cardiff University researchers analysed more than 800 rulings published in the two years after transparency guidance was issued.
Their report says ‘only 27 judges and 12 courts’ sent more than 10 cases to the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (Bailii) website for publication during that period
Family court judges told researchers that they did not have enough time to produce rulings that could be made available to the public in anonymised form.
A researchers’ spokeswoman said: ‘(The research) suggests that guidance given to judges to routinely publish their judgments is not being consistently followed, leaving the public with a patchy understanding of the family justice system.’
Creepy Ian Brady ran me over and molested me’: Retired TV engineer, 62, says he could have been the Moors murderer’s first victim after being targeted as a seven-year-old
- Alan Dean, now 62, said he was targeted in 1962 in Clayton, Greater Manchester
- Said Brady knocked him off the pavement and molested him as he walked home
- A year later in 1963, Brady and partner Myra Hindley murdered Pauline Reade
Alan Dean (pictured as a boy) said he was targeted in 1962 in Clayton, Greater Manchester – close to the Hattersley estate where Brady lived with partner Myra Hindley
A retired TV engineer has said he could have been Ian Brady’s first victim after being targeted as a seven-year-old while walking home from a sweet shop.
Alan Dean, who is now 62, said he was targeted in 1962 in Clayton, Greater Manchester – close to the Hattersley estate where Brady lived with partner Myra Hindley.
The twisted couple met in 1961 and murdered their first victim, Pauline Reade, 16, in 1963.
Following the death of the Moors murderer last Monday, Mr Dean has been reminded of his lucky escape.
In an interview with the Sunday People, he said: ‘I was walking home from the shop, tightrope-walking down the kerbstone. It was a quiet road and back then there was hardly any traffic. They must have deliberately hit me.
‘I remember getting knocked flying. I didn’t see who was driving but when I was on the floor this tall, creepy man was stood over me. I was aware something was wrong.
‘This man was stood over me rubbing my thigh. It was weird, he wasn’t saying anything. I pushed him away and ran home to my mum.’
Years later Mr Dean spotted a picture of the serial killer and immediately recognised Brady from the encounter in Clayton.
He said: ‘I knew it was him straight away. It was the same guy.’
‘There’s no way him and Hindley didn’t practice and plan what they did. They didn’t just kidnap someone first time. They would have had trial runs, working out what they needed to do’, he added.
‘They tried to get me a year before they got Pauline. How many other attempts on other kids did they try?’
Mr Dean, who is now 62, has revealed his lucky escape after Ian Brady knocked him off the pavement and molested him
Brady died of heart disease aged 79 at a secure hospital on Monday. Hindley died in prison in 2002.
The infamous serial killer and Hindley were jailed for life for the killings of John Kilbride, 12, 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, 17.
They went on to admit the murders of Pauline Reade, 16, and 12-year-old Keith Bennett.
Keith’s body has never been found after Brady failed to inform police of its location during his 51 years behind bars.
Police attempted to convince Brady to reveal the mystery location of the grave in his final hours – but he refused to tell them.
Ian Brady, pictured left, refused to co-operate with police as they tried to work out where he had buried 12-year-old Keith Bennett, pictured right
Mr Dean said he felt for the family of Keith, whose mother Winnie Johnson died in 2012 after fighting tirelessly for decades to find her son and provide a Christian burial.
He told the Sunday People: ‘I repaired Winnie’s TV once when she lived on Princess Road. There was also the resemblance between me and Keith when I was younger. We both had the NHS glasses. He never did say where that poor lad is.
‘He would have known the rough area, you don’t do something that bad and not know where you were. Unfortunately, Winnie never found peace because of him. I hope she’s at peace now up there while he’s burning somewhere else.’
Brady, and his co-accused Myra Hindley (pictured together) murdered five children in the 1960s and the bodies of four of his victims have been found. The couple became infatuated with Nazis and sadism after getting together at a chemical firm
Another man, Tommy Rhattigan, now 61, revealed how he fled through a window aged seven after he was lured to Hindley’s grandmother’s house in Manchester with bread and jam in 1963.
He had been one of 12 siblings growing up in desperate poverty in Hulme, Manchester, when he was taken to the house.
Asked if he believed there were just five victims he said: ‘No, 100 per cent I don’t. I truly believe that. There’s more than one that got away.’
On learning of Brady’s death, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘I was actually stunned. I had a lot – a lot – of mixed emotions, a heavy heart, and the reason why I had a heavy heart is because his time’s up, he’s gone, but the families of the victims are still here.’
In 2000, he wrote to the Moors murderer because he felt ‘really sorry’ for the mother of victim Keith Bennett and wanted Brady to tell her where he was buried.
The killer wrote back, telling him he and Hindley were ‘quite ordinary and not dripping blood’.
Crimes that shocked Britain: How Brady’s five victims were snatched before being brutally murdered
- Pauline Reade, 16, was the couple’s first victim. She was on her way to a local dance when Hindley persuaded her to get in her car. They drove Pauline to Saddleworth Moor where she was raped, beaten and stabbed.
- John Kilbride, 12, was snatched from Ashton market on Saturday November 23, 1963. He was strangled and buried in a shallow grave. He was the second of Brady and Hindley’s five victims.
- Keith Bennett, 12, disappeared on the way to his grandmother’s house. Hindley had lured him into her car and driven him to the Moors where he was murdered. The method of killing has never been made clear. The pair buried his body which has never been found.
- Lesley Ann Downey, 10, disappeared on Boxing Day. She had been snatched from the fair and taken back to Hindley’s house. She was brutally assaulted with the ordeal captured on tape.
- Edward Evans, 17, was the sick duo’s final victim. He had just been to see Manchester United play when Brady lured in Edward. Brady repeatedly bludgeoned Evans with an axe.
John Kilbride, 12, (left) and 16-year-old Pauline Reade (right) were killed by the pair and their bodies were later located on Saddleworth Moor
Lesley Ann Downey (left) was killed when she was just ten, while Edward Evans (right) was 17 when he was murdered by the pair
The method of the killing of Keith Bennett, 12, has never been made clear. The pair buried his body which has never been found