'No Evidence' Case Was Shelved Over Heath Claims

'No Evidence' Case Was Shelved Over Heath Claims

An investigation has found no evidence Wiltshire Police deliberately sabotaged a trial in order to suppress allegations of sexual offences involving former prime minister Sir Edward Heath.

It was alleged that the defendant had threatened to go to the media and say she supplied Sir Edward with males under the age of consent for sex if the trial went ahead.

Investigators from the IPCC examined the circumstances surrounding the 1994 court case, which related to former brothel-owner Myra Ling Ling Forde.

The police watchdog said the inquiry "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".

The IPCC said it had found no evidence to support the claim that the alleged comment had any bearing on the outcome of the trial against Ms Forde.

It also found no evidence that other officers within Wiltshire were aware of the alleged comment and failed to act upon it.

The IPCC said: "The investigation concluded that 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 was in office from 1970-1974, died in Salisbury in July 2005, aged 89.

He became the most high-profile figure to be linked to historical abuse allegations last year.

After the IPCC probe was announced, Wiltshire Police appealed for potential victims and others with information to come forward.

In the aftermath of this it emerged a number of other forces were also carrying out inquiries linked to allegations against Sir Edward.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Wiltshire Police said in a statement: "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.

"As a result of the appeal, a number of people individually came forward with information.

"This led to a wider police investigation being established and we are following a number of lines of inquiry."

The force was appointed as the lead national force for the investigation into the allegations relating to Sir Edward.

It said: "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."

The IPCC's conclusions were revealed a day after it emerged that the inquiry into historical abuse claims has cost £367,965 so far.