‘We must think about these victims as much as we consider the reputation of [Edward] Heath.’

So said Angus Macpherson MBE, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, last week. His words were simple but also extraordinary and ominous, and they spoke volumes about the way we live and think now.

He’s the ultimate authority over Operation Conifer, investigating claims against Sir Edward Heath, who died in 2005 aged 89. The inquiry, or perhaps campaign would be a better word, costing £1.5million so far, was launched theatrically in August 2015 on the front steps of the former Prime Minister’s Salisbury home. From there the appropriately named Detective Superintendent Sean Memory, then Wiltshire’s head of crime, tried to rally ‘victims’, who he patently believed were out there.

‘This is an appeal for victims in particular if you have been the victim of any crime from Sir Ted Heath or any historical sexual offence, or you are a witness,’ he declared to the watching TV networks and social media, ‘or you have any information about this, please come forward.’

Naturally thousands did, including believers in ‘Satanic abuse’ who made what the police later called ‘fantastical claims’.

The word ‘victims’ stood out in Commissioner Macpherson’s statement as his main priority, rather than just solving the case. No one asked him how he knows that the late PM had any ‘victims’ or why he was making such a statement when there has been no trial and no verdict.

He seems preoccupied with the feelings of people who believe they were abused. The policeman of 2017 wants above all to hear victim statements. He consults Freud on repression rather than the Oxford Handbook of Police and Policing. Crime novels and TV detectives are still popular with the public but it seems that laboriously sleuthing for clues belongs to the age of Conan Doyle and Miss Marple.

Throughout the years of this costly investigation the police have couched their language in current sympathetic terms such as ‘victims’ and ‘survivors’. Rather than the world of Morse, Macpherson’s statement took us into the kind of therapy culture which now pervades all our lives. Freud’s ideas about repression and releasing repressed memory, his ‘talking cure’, has helped many people, latterly giving a voice to children, but it has now entered our language and culture half-digested, channelled through social media, acquiring along the way the neurosis and narcissism it was originally supposed to contain.

The Freudian idea of repressed memory has always been popular with the public. Dramatised brilliantly by Hitchcock in Spellbound (1945), Vertigo (1958) and Marnie (1964), it suggested that talking therapy could find the key to ending the symptoms of deep trauma. In Hitchcock’s time the issues were mainly to do with heterosexual repression; now the theory has become linked with an ever-increasing social anxiety focused on paedophilia.

In 1989 an American called George Franklin was accused by his daughter, Eileen Franklin-Lipsker, of the rape and murder of her eight-year-old friend, Susan Nason, in 1969. Twenty years later Eileen claimed to have recovered memory of her father’s alleged crime. Despite having no recall of this for two decades, she insisted she was reminded of the killing when she looked at her own daughter. Franklin was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1990, the first man to be jailed on the basis of a ‘recovered memory’. The judge called the former fireman ‘wicked and depraved’.

There followed a number of high-profile cases which seemed to support the psychiatrists who believed it was possible for children to recover memories of abuse years later. Others, including Elizabeth Loftus, a professor of psychology from the University of Washington, who testified on Franklin’s behalf, disagreed.
‘There is no good scientific support for it,’ she said. ‘We should not be dragging people through the courts on folklore.’

In 1996, Franklin was exonerated but ‘memory wars’ about the validity of repressed and recovered memory broke out between doctors and therapists. In the UK, ‘swingers’ from the Sixties and Seventies, a time when it was fashionable to defy the repressive mores of the Victorian past, have fallen prey in a more puritanical age to victim culture. Several celebrities have been convicted after the use of historical claims in court, based entirely on memory. That has been complicated by financial compensation awarded to some ‘victims’.

The use of ‘recovered memory’ as evidence in court has been discredited but many therapists still insist that if a person believes he or she has been abused in the past, then it must be so. It used to be the customer who was always right; now it’s the patient, or in Freudian terms ‘the client’, whose feelings carry most weight.
That thinking has almost managed to overturn the belief which evolved over centuries that hard evidence is needed to prove a person is guilty. Before the days when evidence was seen as essential in a trial, it was possible to say that your neighbour had cursed you and turned your milk sour, or threatened your children and made them die. Words like that, often in times of hardship and pestilence, caused the execution of thousands of vulnerable women across Europe. The targeting of vulnerable outsiders as a response to anxiety still afflicts some south Asian and African societies where women and children are beaten, ostracised and killed after an accusation of witchcraft.

A Wiltshire police spokesman recently stated, somewhat desperately, that Operation Conifer ‘is not a witch hunt’. But Macpherson’s faith in the concept of victimhood as evidence suggests that it is.

I once taught a history class in a prison. Most of the students were lively, intelligent African men. We studied a chapter about witchcraft in Europe and I tried to show that the obsession with witches was what is now called a ‘social construct’, often a response to poverty and warfare. Perhaps because of the continuing chaos of their own lives, by the end of the class the students still believed that old people in their villages turned themselves into balls of fire, entered houses and killed people. They’d never seen it happen, but for them it was true.

The police obsession with proving paedophilia against elderly men using hearsay surely reveals how close we still are to people in the past and to tribal societies in poorer parts of the world. Use of the internet has not changed this; it has intensified the problem. Paradoxically, advanced technology has sent us all back to the village, and it is often as dark as any in Katanga.

It used to be said that a lie could be round the world before Truth had got its boots on. Now it’s been round the globe several thousand times before Truth is out of the shower. Villages were always tricky places to live but social media has provided an almost compulsive method of channelling lies and slurs, allowing millions of people to make anonymous attacks on their community leaders, neighbours, friends and colleagues, for all those ancient human motives: fear, jealousy and greed.

The use of ‘victim culture’ and the dangerous discarding of the need for evidence suggests that many people, including the police, do not yet have the mental or moral resources to live successfully in this village. Like people in the past, we live in a world of anxiety subject to irrational behaviour, in this case the police trying to get a dead man metaphorically exhumed to see his remains displayed in the public market place.

The hot ashes are being raked over and the crowd has gone home to get drunk, but still no one knows whether the accused was guilty, whether there were any victims. As in the 17th century, that doesn’t matter much; the horrible rumours and allegations against him meant he was guilty and already condemned.


  1. Excellent article Jane, as usual.
    The police have definitely lost the plot on innocent until proved guilty.

  2. Nowadays, I sense it is quite fashionable, on-trend and financially rewarding to make such allegations – both historic and current. Disbelief is my default position.

  3. One thing I have noticed as I have got older is that the more sure I am of a particular memory, e.g. which year we went to Bognor, the more likely it is that the memory is provably wrong.

    I think that my brain makes me defend a “lie” more than the a “truth” because I have no fear about being proved wrong when I am right, but when I am wrong I must defend to the death the lie, or I can no longer rely on my own judgement.

    Am I alone in this?

    • No. I recently visited the town I lived in many years ago and, inexplicaby, a large and prominent building had moved across the road to the opposite side from where I was convinced it was.

      • When I return to places where I had passed my very young childhood (those that are still in existence!) I am always surprised by how much smaller everything has got…. 🙂

    • You are absolutely not alone. Studies are now proving how malleable memory is. The implications for people accused of crimes in the past are disturbing.

    • No.
      I had fierce arguments with pals because I defended my claim that Peter Tatchell had been elected as an MP in South London and that I had voted for him and he was then disendorsed as an MP because of his Australian nationality. It took a friend to get Tatchell to actually email me and set me straight.
      How did I have this false memory and how did my mind construct a completely false narrative?. It’s quite frightening to find that you can actually have a complete false memory.

    • I thought I remembered that all the children in my classes at school were white Anglo-Saxon.
      Of course that could not be true, since we are now told that we have been enriched by the lesser breeds without the law (pace Kipling) since the year dot.

  4. The whole politico-Social edifice created and unleashed on the back of the palpable truth of Jimmy Savile and his appalling behaviour, together with the revelation that his actions were “known to management” but suppressed as he did “good things”, is coincidentally convenient as a balance to the extensive series of British Pakistani Rape/grooming etc gang’s throughout the Country.
    The failure to follow basic tenets of justice and rules of evidence in the rush to secure defendants and convictions is a betrayal of centuries of British Jurisrudence. Cliff Richards guilt presumed and his house trespassed by the BBC “invited” by the Police!
    I doubt this poisonous approach is eraseable from our public life.

    • “the palpable truth of Jimmy Savile and his appalling behaviour”. You have credulously swallowed the fabrications of the ITV Exposure hoax and the Yewtree fishing expedition, which have been comprehensively debunked by the extensive forensic research on the Moor Larkin and Anna Raccoon websites. The Heath allegations are the natural outcome of this mass credulity in accepting the Savile myth, of which you are a part, without any investigation of the evidence or facts. See this summary here http://bit.ly/2dybGYs

      • It’s so difficult to know because the investigation is so laughably bad ; Plod just collects allegations irrespective of quality (this is because of a decision in 1997 which effectively legalises conviction by quantity). Savile may have done bad stuff, I don’t know, but I’d bet my life at least 90% of the claims are either untrue or wildly exaggerated.

        • The NHS spent millions investigating thousands of allegations against Savile that involve alledged assaults taken place on NHS property. They found only 6 or so cases where it could not be disproved that Savile had commited the alledged acts. Note they did not find any actual proof just that they could not disprove the allegations. He was ‘judged’ by the NHS to have been guilty …

          Savile may well be guily of some of the allegations and may he burn in hell if he is guilty. I for one would like to see reasonable proof rather than accusation used to convict him otherwise our system of Justice is in serious trouble.

          Now who would benefit from that I wonder?

          • I met Jimmy Savile on a number of occassions and he was a very odd, rather creepy man, but that doesn’t make me guilty of anything. By his own admission he abused or was sexually active with very young people but I think we should be very wary of 99% of the allegations made. Saying he did it isnt proof.

          • I too disliked Savile. I could never watch him on TV nor listen to him on the radio. I don’t know if he was guilty or not but the more I read on the subject the more disquietening it becomes.

            Behind all of this is a serious issue for Justice that the media is ignoring.

      • These revelations come as a surprise as I had thought, clearly foolishly, that our journalists would have brought this seeming scandal to public scrutiny. No such publicity has been firthcom8ng and what has the strong appearance of yet more Establishment manipulation of the public and the elite’s agenda has been effected by the expedient of blackening an ordinary decesased’s name.
        The investigators are to be congratulated on their labours.
        Obviously, our contempt for Government, Civil Service and the Quangoids is entirely justified.

  5. It certainly seems that plod prefer to ‘investigate’ supposed crimes of dead people and internet ‘hate speech’ than racially sensitive current crimes. It is a complete reversal of their original remit to prevent crimes.

  6. We mustn’t jump to conclusions. After all, the CW has its own, self-appointed Witch-Finder General, who has not spoken yet. MM may seem to make very little sense to us mortals, but he clearly believes he is doing heavenly work.

  7. I still believe that the “New World Order” is only a conspiracy theory. But I also think that *in practice* the “Long March through the Institutions” is taking place. Left wing thought is cultivated in higher education and the graduates then work their way into senior jobs – all through self-organising tendencies rather than some Secret Master Plan.

    Left wing thought revels in other peoples’ victimhood and uses each case as a marker on the Long March encouraging progress. Of course each category of victim (the working man, gay people) is callously abandoned once the Long March has passed that particular category, whether or not the victimhood has been resolved. One day abused children will also no longer stir the passions of the Left, but the demonisation of ‘old white guys’ will play on and on. Even though the Left will continue to be led by old white guys.

  8. “Recovered memory” can be very dangerous. In one study, children happily recalled how they saw Bugs Bunny whilst on a trip to Disneyland.
    Bugs Bunny is a Warner Brothers character.

    • Too right; particularly with very young children. Many years ago one of our daughters, who was being minded by some close friends of ours, happily told them how we had systematically starved her. Fortunately her perfectly healthy and well-nourished body, together with the fact that our friends were very familiar with both our normal non-abusive family life and the tendency of children to make up stories, were sufficient for them to realise that this was just our daughter’s vivid imagination at work. We could have a laugh about it afterwards.

      But I sometimes wonder what might have happened if she had spun her fanciful yarn to some do-gooder with less knowledge of reality and more inclination to believe that “children never lie”. There seem to be far too many people in public life these days who would have moved heaven and earth to get our kids taken into care and my wife and I condemned and locked up as dangerous child abusers.

      I have every sympathy for those who fail to escape the horror that might so easily have engulfed us, and great contempt for those who insist on believing the very worst of people without objective evidence. And I say this as someone who certainly knows what it is like to be on the receiving end of genuine and thoroughly vile abuse. It is still necessary to keep perspective and establish the truth, whatever your personal feelings.

      • The PC hoops and training to jump through those PC hoops will have any ‘approved’ child minder believing the child was abused before hearing any child’s babblings.

      • Yes, I see that. “Trawling” is a most vile method, almost assuring a large number of fictitious complaints, whether by design or false memory or revenge or compensation seeking etc. The question is, why did it start & what can be done.

        • It started primarily because of a law change in 1997. Prior to that, for charges to be mutually supportive, they had to have “striking similarities”. It goes back to the “Brides in the Bath” case https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Joseph_Smith

          This was weakened by a judge (judges ?) in 1997 so they only had to have vague similarities. This encouraged Plod to simply collect complaints and relied on juries assuming “they can’t all be made up” – which would be true if they were spontaneous and not generated by trawling (or putting arrests on live TV – hence the helicopter for Cliff R, Jim Davidson being arrested at the airport – the aim is to generate publicity so the mentally damaged or lie for money groups will make stuff up.

          The Police will “tweak” their evidence to make it fit – look at Anver Sheikh’s case for example ; when paperwork showed the claimants had to have been lying the Police encouraged them to amend their statements to fit and convicted him again (he got off again when the Police had withheld evidence as well). This often involves incredible gory detail as regards the crimes combined with minimal checkable details (e.g. dates being given in a 7 year range).

          This is most obvious in things like Ken Barlow/William Roache’s trial, where some of the allegations were laughable and wouldn’t stand up on their own. The Police don’t care because they are simply trying to get as many allegations as possible.

          (i) stop handing out money.
          (ii) criminal penalties for non disclosure*
          (iii) restore “striking similarities”
          (iv) actually check the evidence.

          * I know someone (legal) who got his clients off because he discovered a Police memo with “if the defence gets hold of documents A B and C we have no case” – these documents were not disclosed. This is, IMO, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and should be treated as such.

  9. We’re now in an era where subjectivity, rather than objectivity (independent evidence), is king. A ‘victim’ must be taken seriously simply because they say it’s so. A biological man must be treated as a woman because he says it’s so. Hurt feelings trump argument and discussion. A racist incident is defined as one which is perceived to be so, even by a third party.

    The effect of all this is to push objectivity back into the laboratories, from which it migrated in the Enlightenment. And with society functioning on unreason, it’s doubtful how long science can survive as an island in a sea of unreason.

  10. I’m afraid I have very little time for the Police who seem to be just stupid. I was dismayed at their behaviour in ‘Operation Midland’ where so cretin called ‘Nick’, who by rights ought to be doing a stretch in Wandsworth, made allegations not just against the dead but the living too. He alleged that Harvey Proctor had murdered two children in Dolphin Square and been complicit in a third murder in Kingston. Like all liars he wove a pretty narrative but there were no specific details, save in the Kingston allegations were he went a bit far. The BBC, no friend of truth nor justice, examined the clain in detail, and yet could find no basis for it in fact – there had been no murder. I assume the police did the same, so why hasn’t ‘Nick’ been prosecuted to the full extent of the Law ?? Heath is dead and you cannot libel the dead, but Proctor is very much alive and you can libel and defame the living. He should have the means and ability to prosecute ‘Nick’ for slander and see him carted off to jail. The curtain of anonymity needs to be removed from these people and they need to be exposed as the liars they are. And we should also stop the compensation train dead in its tracks, because that is a high motivation – it is a no risk way to swindle public money. Enough of this nonsense.

  11. I think everyone could see that this was a senior police officer refusing to admit incompetence (and worse), a not at all, if unusually revolting unusual spectacle. God help those whose policing might depend on the decisions or integrity of this dishonest buffoon.

    I really think there has to be a further judicial inquiry to expose what happened so that the next time we opt for a community remake of Witchfinder General it can be nipped in the bud; but instead it will feed into the endless pointless extravagance of May’s un-ending Child Abuse lawyers and professional victims gravy train due to report sometime in the reign of William IV.

  12. It’s because it’s easy non-work and normally fairly easy to get results ; there are plenty of criminals and loonies who will produce lies on demand for money / ego / prop up insane views reasons. This is why there was a helicopter over Cliff Richard’s house ; to get the loonies and criminals to make up stories.

    It’s the same reason that they can find the time to Police twitter but not the high street.

  13. What we need is a Danny Day to have a go at MacPherson – Wiltshire Police love people like him (Google David Bryant – by co-incidence another fireman). Then see how he and Veale like it.

  14. McPherson is a bean counter from Ernst & Young with a very poor electoral mandate of 46% on less than 25% turnout. Having previously been a member of Wiltshire Police Authority for 7 years he was not new blood when the over-empowered PCC scam was dreamt up but just another political shoe-in from one of the usual suspect parties, effectively giving the Tories single-handed control of what Wiltshire Police get up to. How that is meant to give ordinary people input into police priorities is baffling and here McPherson has demonstrated that his policing priorities are distinctly odd. Far from holding local police to account on behalf of the public he appears to have become the cheerleader for their post-mortem social work and “victim” support, as well as buying into their apparent need for high profile TV coverage.

    Good article which ought to get the clowns who rule over us asking some searching questions about current policing and the worth of McPhersons. They should start with Peel’s Principles.

    • Aren’t all the commissioners just political shoe-ins. The original concept of independent commissioners answering to democracy may have been noble but it has been well and truly hijacked by the political parties.

      • As a former Met policeman, let me tell you when the rot set in: when they stopped selecting commissioners from the ranks of senior forces officers. They brought something to the job that no-one since McNee has.

  15. we are told that police cuts are causing crime to soar

    but the police have £1.5 million and 20 officers to investigate dead people with zero chance of charge or conviction?

    • Justice needs to be done and be seen to be done etc. Just because the dead cannot be tried is not a reason to not investigate. It would be nice if they actually used evidence in their investigations but then we cannot expect that these days it seems.

      • …Just because the dead cannot be tried is not a reason to investigate….

        Actually, it’s a good reason TO investigate. Because, without a defense, the police’s chances of ‘conviction’ (in the court of public opinion) are greatly enhanced…

        • Agreed. Investigation is needed for both defence and prosecution (IYSWIM). Not a priority given the timescales maybe but if guilty the victim would get some redress and vice verse.

      • If the guilty are already dead, how exactly will justice be done? If there were any chance that accomplices would be prosecuted and jailed, it might be worthwhile investigating. Otherwise, it is waste of time which would be better spent elsewhere.

        “Lessons have been learned” is the modern equivalent of ‘the cheque’s in the post”.

        • I am unsure that ‘accomplices’ will be prosecuted and jailed. There is a chance to reveal how powerful networks in the Church, the ‘military’, Westminster and possibly at senior levels in the police operated over children.

          It may still be happening.

          Justice? There is a man and his wife, he was a chauffeur at the Australian Embassy. One day their little boy disappeared. They are waiting in hope that he may be alive and come running back into their arms.

        • As you state the obvious answer is accomplices, but there are also things like venues, methodologies (which may be unique) and other intelligence from which the Police can, crazy as it may sound, learn sometimes.

          Then there is Justice for the victim. Real victims of child abuse are often broken by the experience. The very idea that they were beileved and that others know what the guilty party did can be a step to putting it behind them – as much as they can and if the organisations out there to help them will let them of course.

          Justice is not just for the guilty.

  16. Has there ever been a completely verified case of a recovered memory? I don’t mean amnesia, temporary or otherwise, from, say, a blow to the head. I don’t mean cases where the supposed victim was too young or otherwise incapable of appreciating the importance of an act or to experience trauma at the time and so just forgot something which seemed to them insignificant.

    I mean where the alleged victim was, at the time, psychologically traumatized by an event to such an extent that for that reason alone they forgot all about it for decades?
    Judging by the allegations flying around these cases are very common but I have yet to hear of an undoubtedly verified case.

    From my own experience and from what other people commonly say, traumatic experiences are all too memorable.
    The problem is forgetting, or at least blunting the memory of, traumatic events – not the reverse.

    • Ironically, there are many, many cases of “recovered memory” where the memory turned out to be false or implanted, yet very scant concrete evidence of genuine recovered memories.

      From Wikipedia : The term [Recovered Memory] is not listed in [the standard manual of mental health disorders] nor is it recommended by mainstream ethical and professional mental health associations

  17. …That thinking has almost managed to overturn the belief which evolved over centuries that hard evidence is needed to prove a person is guilty. Before the days when evidence was seen as essential in a trial, it was possible to say that your neighbour had cursed you and turned your milk sour, or threatened your children and made them die….

    Um…. in the 16th and 17th centuries, the fact that someone had cursed you and then later your milk turned sour WAS hard evidence. All that has happened here is that what counts as evidence has changed….

    • Even such a worthy as Cotton Mather, who actually believed in witches, nonetheless advised the judges in Salem, Mass Bay Colony, that they’d need perhaps a LITTLE more than just “spectral evidence” from pubescent females to clinch the deal.

  18. I do not support this current fashion for attacking the dead, either for made-up crimes or even for activities which were culturally acceptable at the time but which are now depreciated.

    However, if there has to be a target for such injustice, I am glad to see Edward Heath taking the hit, as a self-confessed traitor to this country…

    • I’m afraid I rather agree with these sentiments. Health lied to take this country into the EU project, and, as such, there are no depths to which his reputation might not justly be reduced.

      Given the covering up of paedophilia in Belgium (Dutroux), I am not personally surprised to see it being linked to pro-EU figures. Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of them had been blackmailed into handing over powers and money to Brussels.

    • I am not in favour of anyone being falsely accused for a crime. I would agree, however, that Heath’s reputation can hardly get worse for me than where it already is: he betrayed the entire country, and lied about what he had done, in public and indeed in Parliament, for years. When finally cornered on it, he shrugged that it was justified because the British people are ‘too stupid to be allowed to rule themselves.”

      Never mind being smeared after his death, he should have bee hanged for treason.

      • “too stupid to be allowed to rule themselves.” That is the mindset of just about every politician since the breed surfaced.

    • Heath was homosexual when it was, shamefully, illegal.
      This laid him open to blackmail as well as bribery & certainly hardly discouraged
      him from lying about “Europe”
      I’d bracket Heath’s honesty score with that of Jeremy Thorpe.

      • Heath’s cottaging was reported to the Tory whips’ office by the police in 1951, a year after he became an MP.
        I would not be surprised if he was then told to direct his proclivities towards children as the whips’ could help him in that regard.

    • Child sexual abuse appears to have been culturally acceptable in those decades. Former prime minister Edward Heath used to attend Paedophile Information Exchange meetings according to one reliable report and minutes of their meetings.

    • I dislike Heath for the same reason, but I would never wish a man and reputation to be besmirched unjustly simply as revenge. That’s wrong.

      • …and I never wished it either. I simply opined that if injustice was going to happen to someone, Edward Heath seemed a very good recipient….

  19. The author doesn’t know whether the claims are true or not. By suggesting this is all fabrication he is just as biased as the police. He was there, was he? Knew Edward Heath and frequented all these gatherings? I think not.

    • Sorry, ‘she’….all I read was a load of crap trying to link accusations made against anyone in authority with witchcraft.

    • Presumption of innocence. Can’t be prosecuted in a court of law therefore any allegations cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Total waste of police time and public money.

    • Nobody knows whether the claims are true or not. That is the whole point. All that can be said with certainty is that (a) no corroborated evidence as emerged as to Heath’s supposed guilt; (b) the police are ignoring this by talking about victims when it is far from clear that there are any and (c) and increasing number of young (not dead) men are going to prison or having their lives ruined on the basis of fabricated ‘memories’.

    • I didn’t know Heath, but I was old enough to vote when he was PM, I took a keen interest in politics, and read a biography of him. I had never heard the slightest rumour or suspicion and I want to see some substantive evidence rather than the stuff we’ve been served with so far.

      • You wouldn’t hear it then, it was not on the public’s radar, so to speak. But – and I do not intend to repeat what I have written on other TCW forums – I know from personal experience as a policeman a few years after that time that subsequently too much smoke has issued forth from different sources for there not to be SOME credence to allegations against SOME, I don’t include Heath in this.

        • Private Eye often speculated about Heath’s sexuality because he seemed quite sexless, if there had been any muck to spread I am sure they would have done so.

  20. As far as I know, Heath’s main accuser is still the same man, identified only as Nick, whose allegations against Brittan and Bramall were totally discredited and who was denounced by his own family as a fantasist. No wonder the police are desperate for other accusers to present themselves but it is a wonder that they are persevering in their absence. I seem to recall the accusations against Heath included murdering his victims and throwing them into the sea from his yacht. Some hint there of an imagination in overdrive? Even if recovered memory syndrome is scientifically sound and not simply a blank slate on which fantasists can write whatever they like, historic crime suffers from what should be a disqualifying flaw in the lack of corroboration. One reason for not prosecuting Nick for making false allegations in the Brittan and Bramall fiasco might be that he is not responsible for his actions but he still needs to be held accountable by a public ruling of this. Another reason might be that the police don’t want to embarrass themselves by showing how credulous they were in believing him so eagerly. It’s very difficult to hold the British police to account which is an even bigger scandal than their obsession with historic crime.

  21. In the race to political correctness a number of previously secure legal principles have been abolished. The first is the presumption of innocence (which has become an assumption of guilt in crimes of a sexual or racial nature, when the accused is white). The second is the concept of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ where a very high standard of evidence was required before somebody could be denied their freedom long-term. The third is the right to freedom from arrest without probable cause. (The police now routinely arrest people because they no longer need a search warrant to go fishing for evidence in their personal data and hope to find something to retrospectively justify the arrest.) All the recent miscarriages of justice have all these factors in common.

    • I don’t get many of these prosecutions as the evidence appears to be hearsay without any physical forensic backup.

  22. The justification often advanced for looking to collect evidence against a dead person is “Perhaps we can discover how to prevent the next one like him” (as happens even now, in Las Vegas). Alternatively, “A lot of otherwise-inexplicable things fall into place once we know the REAL story” (as happens even now, even with a LIVING person, Harvey Weinstein, a major contributor to Democrats in the US, and why his attempted rapes and other assorted sordidnesses were covered up). One wonders which would be the justification preferred, and by which people, in l’affaire Edward Heath– and “He would have been questioned under caution” does nothing to dispel this, although one wonders if anyone has, y’know, the slightest inkling of criminal law and procedure, and realises that “lawyering up” is ALWAYS the smartest thing to do under the circumstances. Edward Heath would have been “Miranda’d,” he would have invoked his right to silence and to consult counsel, nothing would have emerged from the questioning, and we are right back at the starting line.

  23. One could prevent most of this nonsense by abolishing the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and making any financial redress have to come directly from the perpetrator, which would require a conviction. Without the financial incentive to be a victim, we’d be spared these pointless investigations.

    • Completely agree – as soon as we concede the principle that money can repair the hurt, we open the doors to all sorts of dubious/false claims.

      A second giant step in the right direction would be the abolition of conditional fee arrangements, and a third giant step would be to make the ‘victims’ legal representatives jointly liable for costs if their accusations are found to be false.

      Under the current regime, the system (for both ‘victims’ and their representatives) is just like taking part in the National Lottery, only with a much better chance of winning and a £zero cost of entering.

  24. Miss

    Police and Crime Commissioners have no legal authority to interfere with police operations.

    ‘Victim’ is a policy definition and has no statutory support. It arose because the Police Service in England & Wales refused to give sufficient weight to allegations of sexual abuse and therefore drove, in exaspertion and frustration, complainants to change their vocabulary: the police were ignoring complainants and hence now the escalation in the costs of public inquiries.

    You are attacking the police from an irrational standpoint: if they ignore child sexual abuse, they are attacked. If they investigate child sexual abuse, they are attacked.

    Veale has come under so much pressure that he secreted into his investigation a device calculated to let Heath off.

    He used late 20th century (and early 21st) criminal law criteria to determine if Heath would be questioned today. He should have used mid-twentieth century criteria – or better still the criteria in existence at the time each offence was alleged.

  25. What I find particularly nauseating in this instance is the way we are invited to conclude that there is no smoke without fire from the suggestion that were Heath still alive he would have been spoken to under caution. As with the Bishop Bell case, where the reputation of a much-revered figure was trashed by a Church of England committee’s finding that “on the balance of probabilities” he was a child sex abuser, we are left to wonder just how thorough the investigation really was and whether it is more convenient to let the mud stick to the man as he is now dead.

  26. What really riles me, beyond all the implications of a witch hunt and horrible injustice, is that the man is long since dead. Why spend £1.5 million on something that can never be tested in a court of law. If the so called victims really feel abused then let them go to therapy and pour their hearts out. Nothing can be done now. If it ever happened it was in the past and Heath is dead. Lets worry about children who are really abused today.

    • If that principle were to be followed, then the State should invite police forces to abandon cold case murder and rape reviews – to save on costs.

      • And why not? If the people who committed the crimes are dead and the events are long ago then money and resources are wasted since nothing can come of it. If a body is discovered and there is a possibility the murderer is alive then by all means pursue it. In this case Heath is dead and can never be brought to trial. There can never be any ‘closure’ and we know that many abuse cases are still ignored. Girls are regularly sexually assaulted in our schools but that seems to be OK. Why is that? Perhaps it is because they are only girls and not male fantasists

        • Heath’s reputation is unrecoverable. He attended, according to reliable sources and minutes, meetings of Paedophile Information Exchange.

          The Prime Minister has said: ‘Our priority must be the prosecution of the people behind these disgusting crimes … Wherever possible – and consistent with the need to prosecute – we will adopt a presumption of maximum transparency. And … where there has been a failure to protect children from abuse, we will expose it and we will learn from it.’

          • Reliable sources… huh! Who else attended and if minutes were kept then what was discussed? ‘Our priority must be the prosecution…” right, that’s fine but Heath is long since dead and cannot be prosecuted. There remain two factors: one is that we presume innocence in this country and two we try people after charging them. You are not presuming innocence and he cannot be tried. This is a pointless waste of money because no lessons are ever learned. If the police are so busy searching the past alleged misdeeds of Heath then they are not looking at the many current cases of abuse. Why doesn’t the current abuse of girls interest you? Why not spend that £1.5 million on rooting out current offenders? Heath is dead.

          • ‘There remain two factors: one is that we presume innocence in this country and two we try people after charging them.’

            Wiltshire police have fulfilled the first condition. The second condition is beyond their power, in this case.

            The latter will await ‘The Great White Throne Judgment’.

            Furthermore, if the Home Office provided more funds – then they could follow the evidence into the Church, the ‘military’ and Westminster.

          • “The second condition is beyond their power, in this case.” Exactly but there are plenty of of current cases that can be brought to trial. As for the rest if there were conspiracies those conspiring are likely dead and my point still stands. Quit chasing shadows and hunt down the live abusers and rapists.

          • LOL
            Oh well what you mean is that in 20 or 30 years someone will enquiring as to why so many cases of sexual abuse and rape went un-investigated in 2017 although a great deal of money was spent.

          • They are, and I apologise for leaving them out. I would like to see all current cases of sexual abuse of our young pursued with great vigour and no expense spared. I would like to see every abuser wetting the bed at night in fear of law enforcement. Sadly, that is not the case.

      • Totally different scenario. Cold case reviews are those in which there is the good prospect of detecting and prosecuting a living perpetrator. Heath is long dead and beyond the reach of the law.

        • True – but not most of the network: when cold cases are reviewed the police don’t know if the perpetrator is dead – hence the cold case review.

          Aye, then, not too different.

  27. Miss

    This is as far as the investigation will go because the Home Office is reluctant to fund further. I think posters can make up their own minds:

    ‘A source who claimed to know Veale’s thinking is quoted in the paper as saying: “There are very close similarities in the accounts given by those who have come forward. The same names used for him, the same places and same type of incidents keep coming up. What stands out is that the people giving these accounts are not connected but the stories and the details dovetail.”’

      • I don’t think it will get that far. Veale’s report will now be delivered to The Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse chaired by an academic who has not been trained in forensic criminal law cross-examination.

        As to theoretical costs, no idea. Though there are published tables to assist in such calculations.

  28. the recent no proof needed epidemic was started be Harriot Harman, and has been continued by her student Theresa May

  29. There was a study on based on people’s memory of 9/11. Over time people’s memories of the event had started to change to reflect what they have seen on tv during the years. They have even started to doubt their original memories.
    Most eye witness accounts never match up to the actual events so how can people remember events from so many years ago.

    • I took a lot of statements as a policeman, I was struck by how often people gave suspects moustaches when they had none, and failed to register them when they had.

  30. So the police get all touchy feely about supporting alleged victims of abuse 50 years ago by a former tory Prime Minister. I can’t help but wonder if this shows how far Plod have moved from being guardians of law and order to a politicised outfit where dealing with crime has become secondary to virtue signalling.
    If Ted Heath had been of a different colour and/or religion I doubt the matter would ever have been looked at. As for the consistency of claims made by alleged victims, I had heard that one individual had submitted three claims of abuse, each using a different name. It has also been suggested that the police ignored evidence of Heath’s innocence to some of the alleged abuse because he was out of the country on the grounds that the accuser may have got his dates wrong.

    Indeed, at a time when young girls are still being groomed (as evidenced by the news that there have been more arrests in Rotherham) I would have thought that the police should be investigating current crimes not historical fantasies.

  31. I think it stems from a human need deep in the subconscious to make evil up in harmless places, so as too avoid it’s reality in the flesh. One looks at the way a sociopath like Blair has graciously been allowed to fade into the background of charity work and media appearances on Europe after making his millions doing “Dictatorship PR”. Meanwhile one of the most boring, but ultimately harmless/hapless, PMs of recent decades is re-imagined as a child murderer/rapist and a devil worshipper. Says it all really; any day now I expect to hear that John Major was really a lizardman and a leading light of the UK branch of the Illuminati.

  32. I understand and agree with much in this article. If the police have not sought tough evidence, but relied upon testimony, then they should reform their methods.

    But can we really ignore the sordid underbelly of British public life during the last century? Can we really ignore how every institution once deemed honourable has been found to be infested with the sickness and depravity of sexual perversions like paedophilia and other such crimes? Were not many politicians of the 70’s and 80’s also now found to be paedophiles, with the full knowledge of many others? Were there not repeated cover-ups and no penalty applied to those flouting the law in such an unspeakable fashion?

    I am not advocating slander or false accusations or weak evidence, or the dubious “repressed memory”, but there is a good reason why we have become far more suspicious of our public figures and institutions. I can only sincerely hope that Heath is not guilty of the terrible accusations against his name, but if he is, then I can no longer be shocked.

  33. Considering that Heath spent most of his mature years surrounded by security and advisors, I wonder if it has ever occurred to the Police that only their evidence could be regarded as impartial and believable. So, how many of those security people and advisors have given evidence in support of the allegations (many of which may be contaminated by the lure of compensation)? None? I thought so. I wonder if the Police would have pursued an ex-Labour PM so assiduously?

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