5 Aug 2015

Edward Heath: brothel keeper denies involvement

A brothel keeper whose prosecution was allegedly dropped after she threatened to “expose” allegations of paedophilia against Sir Edward Heath has denied any involvement with the former prime minister.

The woman at the centre of the IPCC inquiry, into Wiltshire police force’s handling of claims against the former Tory prime minister, was named on Wednesday in media reports as Myra Ling-Ling Forde.

Ms Forde has been convicted twice of running a brothel, but it is alleged that in the 1990s she avoided prosecution for running a brothel in Salisbury by threatening to name Heath.

The Daily Telegraph named the Filipino 67-year-old, saying sources close to the IPCC investigation had confirmed her identity.

However, speaking through her solicitor, Ms Forde said she has “no knowledge of any misconduct on his (Heath’s) part”.

Edward Heath

Solicitor Richard Griffiths said, in a statement to the Salisbury Journal: “My former client wishes me to make it very clear that at no stage did she state that Ted Heath was a client and at no stage did she threaten to expose him as a client of hers if the prosecution was continued.

“For the avoidance of any doubt Myra Forde wishes me to make it clear that she had no involvement with Ted Heath of any kind and has no knowledge of any misconduct on his part.”

Five investigations

There are now five police force investigations into Sir Edward Heath, with Hampshire police force confirming an investigation on Tuesday night.

Hampshire Police said: “We are investigating allegations, we have nothing further to add at this stage.”

On Monday Wiltshire Police, from outside Heath’s Salisbury home, appealed for potential victims and witnesses to come forward after Sir Edward became the most high-profile figure embroiled in historical child sex claims.

Reports then emerged that the Metropolitan Police are investigating Heath as a part of Operation Midland, a Scotland Yard inquiry into claims a VIP paedophile ring operated in the 1970s and 1980s.

Rape allegation

A man, now aged in his 60s, claimed he was raped at the age of 12 by the Conservative MP in 1961 but was branded “a liar and a fantasist” when he reported it to social workers two months later.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “In April 2015 an allegation of rape was made to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). An officer from Operation Fairbank interviewed the complainant that same month and obtained a full account. Support services were offered.

“However, after a full assessment of the allegation there were no lines of inquiry that could proportionately be pursued by the MPS.”

The States of Jersey Police has also confirmed that Heath features in Operation Whistle, an inquiry into alleged historical abuse in the island’s care homes such as the notorious Haut de la Garenne.

Later, Kent Police said they had received a report yesterday of a sexual assault in the east of the county in the 1960s.

A spokesman said: “The victim has named Sir Edward Heath in connection with the allegation. Detectives are making initial inquiries and will obtain a full account from the victim.”

Labour MP Tom Watson, who himself received two allegations relating to Heath, told Channel 4 News on Tuesday that the number of inquiries shows that a national police team should be set up to deal with such cases.

He said one of the allegations of child sex abuse he received “seemed very credible”.

‘Easy to smear’

However, one former colleague has warned that “we must be very careful” over the allegations.

Former Conservative MP Brian Binley, who worked in Sir Edward’s office for a period of time, told the BBC: “I find it very difficult to believe from the Ted Heath that I knew.

“There are many unanswered questions here and I don’t think it would be right and fair to jump to conclusions about a man who served his country with dignity and with care, who was a considerable intellect, loved his music.

“We must be very careful. It’s easy to smear people not around.”

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.”