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Did Ted Heath abuse children in Jersey?

News | Published:

  • Allegations that Sir Edward Heath abused Island children on his yacht
  • Former Prime Minister one of many people of ‘public prominence’ currently being investigated by the States police
  • 45 people being investigated under Operation Whistle for historical child abuse offences
  • 13 of those were described as people who are ‘well-known’ public figures, including celebrities, politicians and sports people

ALLEGATIONS that former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath took vulnerable Jersey children onto his private yacht to sexually abuse them have come to light after the States police emerged as one of five forces across Britain investigating the late politician.

On Tuesday, Sir Edward, who was a Conservative Prime Minister between 1970 and 1974, was named by the States police as part of an ongoing investigation – codenamed Operation Whistle – into historical child abuse in Jersey.

Today and overnight numerous allegations against the ex-politician have surfaced.

How the JEP reported on one of Ted Heath's visits to the Island

Among them are claims that he would take children from the Island's former care home Haut de la Garenne onto his yacht.

It is alleged that his boat, the Morning Cloud, was anchored outside Jersey waters and therefore beyond the Island's jurisdiction.

None of the claims have been confirmed by the States police.

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It is now known that as well as the States police, the London Met, Wiltshire, Kent and Hampshire forces are also investigating claims of sexual abuse.

A JEP report from July 1976 documented one of Sir Edward's visits to the Island to promote his book Sailing – A Course of My Life. He attended a dinner in St Helier, where he was welcomed by then Advocate Helier Mourant and Bill Challinor, commodore of the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club.

Speaking to the JEP, former Senator Pierre Horsfall said he recalled 'very briefly' meeting Sir Edward at a dinner at the L'Horizon Hotel in the 'mid-1970s'.

'He seemed a normal chap,' said Mr Horsfall.

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'He was an an ex-Prime Minister, so one treated him a little differently, but he seemed a perfectly normal chap.

'He spoke about nothing but his association with Salisbury Cathedral.

'I was not aware that he came here on his boat.

'I know that he sold his boat to a man from Jersey.

'I have been trying to remember it but I can't.

'It was a very brief chat with him.

'There must be hundreds of other people who met him while he was over here.

'I can't really remember who was at the dinner – lots of banking people.'

Yesterday, the States police confirmed that Sir Edward featured in their own investigations.

However they declined to reveal the nature of the allegations or how many allegations they had received.

The national allegations surfaced this week after the Independent Police Complaints Commission announced it was investigating Wiltshire Police for allegedly dropping an investigation into Sir Edward in the 1990s.

In a statement the Jersey force said: 'The States police can confirm that they are aware of the UK Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into historical corruption allegations relating to child sexual abuse in Wiltshire.

'Sir Edward Heath does feature as part of Operation Whistle, currently investigating historical allegations of abuse in Jersey.

'The States of Jersey Police continue to work in collaboration with their UK-based Operation Hydrant counterparts.'

Ted Heath at the helm of Morning Cloud. It has been alleged that he anchored the yacht outside Jersey waters and therefore beyond the Island's jurisdiction

Former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath is just one of many people of 'public prominence' currently being investigated by the States police under the banner of Operation Whistle.

Earlier this year the force revealed that 45 people were under investigation for historical child abuse offences, 13 of whom were described as people who are 'well-known' public figures, including celebrities, politicians and sports people.

UK Investigation

ALTHOUGH rumours about Sir Edward's private life have persisted for years, the claims exploded into the national media earlier this week when the Independent Police Complaints Commission announced it was to investigate whether the Wiltshire Police failed to pursue allegations of child abuse made against Sir Edward in the 1990s by a brothel keeper.

It is understood that the 67-year-old woman, who has been twice jailed for running a brothel in Salisbury, where Sir Edward lived after leaving office, had a prosecution against her dropped after threatening to expose the former Prime Minister as a paedophile.

The allegation of a cover-up was made by a former senior police officer from the force, who was a constable at the time of the aborted investigation.

Wiltshire police have now appealed for any further potential victims or witnesses to come forward.

Scotland Yard has reportedly also been investigating Sir Edward as part of Operation Midland, which was launched to examine child abuse by an alleged Westminster paedophile ring.

In total five forces – the States police, the Met, Wiltshire, Kent and Hampshire – are now investigating abuse claims against the former prime minister.

In a statement, Kent police said: 'Kent police has today received a report of a sexual assault having been committed in east Kent in the 1960s.

The victim has named Sir Edward in connection with the allegation. Detectives are making initial inquiries and will obtain a full account from the victim.'

The Hampshire Constabulary also confirmed last night that it was investigating abuse allegations, but declined to comment further.

Sir Edward was invited to the Island in July 1976 by de Gruchy to promote his book, Sailing – A Course of My Life. The ex-politician, who is one of four British prime ministers never to have married, attended a book signing event at the store and also met the Constable of St Helier at that time, Peter Baker.

Sir Edward left his 18th-century house in Salisbury and its contents to a charitable foundation for it to be used as a museum dedicated to his career.

In a statement, the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation said: 'We welcome the investigation by Wiltshire police, which we wholeheartedly believe will clear Sir Edward's name and we will co-operate fully with the police in their inquiries.'

Operation Whistle

Operation Whistle was launched by the States police in June following an increase in reports of historical cases of abuse following the death of Jimmy Savile and the launch of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry last year.

The suspected abuse in Jersey, which allegedly mainly took place at the former children's home Haut de la Garenne and three other unnamed institutions which are no longer in use, goes back as far as the 1930s.

A team of six investigators was established to work in collaboration with the UK-based team under Operation Hydrant, which was set up to investigate reports of sexual abuse across the British Isles.

The force had unearthed allegations against as many as 45 people, some of whom are dead or have not yet been identified, and at least 50 alleged victims. Some of the suspects and victims are separate to those identified in the States police's historical child abuse investigation, Operation Rectangle, which began in 2008.

Although the oldest cases date back to the 1930s, the majority are from the 1970s and 1980s, according to the States police.

The States police were unable to provide information on how many allegations had been made against Sir Edward, what the nature of the allegations were or the number of alleged victims who were involved. However, they have confirmed that a further update on Operation Whistle will be released later this year.

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