Monday 18 June 2018

Brothel owner denies accusing Ted Heath of child sex abuse

Former British prime minister Edward Heath is to be investigated by watchdogs. Photo: PA
Former British prime minister Edward Heath is to be investigated by watchdogs. Photo: PA
Edward Heath aboard his yacht Morning Cloud at Gosport, as three police forces are now investigating claims of child sex abuse involving the former prime minister. Photo: PA
Former British Prime Minister Edward Heath waves as he arrives at number 10 Downing Street in London in this file photo dated April 29, 2002. REUTERS/STR

Martin Evans in London

The former prostitute who allegedly sparked the Ted Heath child abuse scandal by threatening to expose him as a paedophile has denied ever mentioning the former British prime minister’s name to police.

Myra Ling-Ling Forde (67) was revealed to be the former Salisbury brothel owner who it was claimed had escaped prosecution in the early 1990s after stating she would drag Heath’s name through the mud.

But in a statement issued through her solicitor, Forde, who was later twice jailed for prostitution offences, said she had no knowledge of any alleged misconduct by Heath and had never threatened to use his name to avoid prosecution.

Her solicitor, Richard Griffiths, whose firm represented her in the original 1992 case, said the trial was dropped because the prosecution had problems with its key witness, not because of threats she made.

He said: “My firm acted for Myra Forde in relation to the case which the prosecution discontinued on the day of the trial and which has been the subject of a great deal of speculation.

“My former client wishes me to make it very clear that at no stage did she state that 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.

“It is my recollection assisted by discussion with my colleague who was at Winchester Crown Court on the day the case was discontinued and by the barrister we instructed to represent Myra Forde, that the prosecution had witness problems.

“In particular it may have been the case that one of the witnesses was at court in the cells and perhaps therefore not best inclined to assist the prosecution.

“The prosecution took what at the time seemed a sensible decision that they could not prove their case and offered no evidence.

“This decision would have been announced in open court and would be a matter of record.”

Forde’s alleged role in the Heath scandal emerged this week when the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announced that it was investigating Wiltshire Police over an alleged cover-up dating back to the early 1990s.

The IPCC revealed that a former senior detective with the force had come forward to claim that his colleagues had quietly dropped a criminal case after the defendant threatened to expose Heath, who lived in Salisbury for many years, as a child abuser.

It was subsequently established that the defendant was Forde, who was jailed in 1995 and 2009 for running a brothel from her home in Salisbury, which was just a short walk from where Heath lived.

After the IPCC announced its investigation, Wiltshire Police appealed for any potential victims of Heath to come forward.

Since then, four other forces, the Metropolitan Police, the States of Jersey Police, Kent and Hampshire have all announced they have investigated Heath in connection with allegations of child abuse.

Forde is now understood to be living in Kilburn, north-west London.

Wiltshire Police, which appealed for potential victims and those with information to come forward, said it continued to receive a “number of calls” today.

Heath has become the most high-profile figure linked to historical paedophile allegations.

Scotland Yard has refused to confirm suggestions that Heath is being looked at as part of Operation Midland, a Scotland Yard inquiry into claims a VIP paedophile ring operated in the 1970s and 1980s.

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.”

Former friends and colleagues of Mr Heath have rallied to his defence.(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News