by Nicola Harley, The Telegraph:
The police chief investigating allegations that Sir Edward Heath was a paedophile believes the accounts are “120 per cent genuine”.
Wiltshire Police has been carrying out a large-scale investigation into claims made about the late former prime minister and has identified more than 30 alleged victims.
A report, which is expected to be published in June, will allegedly detail how the claims are “totally convincing” and will vindicate Chief Constable Mike Veale’s decision to persist with the £700,000 investigation.
Operation Coniferwas launched in 2015 – ten years after Sir Edward’s death – and has had a team of more than 20 police officers and staff looking into allegations dating back 50-years.
But supporters of the late Tory leader have dismissed the investigation as a “witch-hunt”, insisting that Sir Edward did not have the opportunity or inclination to abuse children.
But according to The Mail on Sunday, a source has said there are a large number of allegations which are very similar and come from people who were not known to one another.
The source said: “What stands out is that the people giving these accounts are not connected but the stories and the details dovetail. It contains disturbing stuff. Investigators have been shocked by what they have learned.”
One of the former prime minister’s former armed protection officers had previously dismissed the idea that Sir Edward could have abused youngsters because he was watched around the clock by police.
The allegations were also said to be ludicrous because Sir Edward did not have a car and used a driver to get to wherever he went.
But police have now obtained photographic evidence, suggesting that Sir Edward did have a car and did occasionally drive unaccompanied.
Throughout the investigation, Mr Veale has defended the force’s actions against critics who have said it is a “witch-hunt”, adding: “I will not be buckling under pressure to not investigate or to conclude the investigation prematurely.”
Operation Conifer launched a television appeal asking for “victims” of Sir Edward to come forward.
Previously, Peter Cracknell, a firearms specialist who spent 29 years with Wiltshire Police, has said Sir Edward would not have had the opportunity to abuse youngsters because security around him was so tight.
Mr Cracknell, who worked at Sir Edward’s home, Arundells, in Salisbury between 1985 and 1990, said the long-running police investigation into claims he was a paedophile who took part in satanic abuse was “ludicrous”.