Preda Deutsch Website

‘I’d never let him near children’: Leading child sex abuse expert who investigated said she would not trust former Prime Minister Ted Heath were he alive today

October 16, 2017 ·  By Simon Walters Political Editor For The Mail On Sunday for www.dailymail.co.uk

Share

One of Britain’s leading experts on child sex abuse who took part in the investigation into paedophile claims against Sir Edward Heath has said she would not trust him with children were he alive today.

Dr Elly Hanson, a clinical psychologist who specialises in abuse and trauma, said her opinion was based on secret evidence obtained by police concerning Sir Edward’s alleged crimes.

She also criticised the ‘hostile’ response to the police inquiry into the former Prime Minister, who died in 2005, which said he should be questioned under caution over the abuse allegations if he were alive.

Dr Hanson compared the response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the silence that shrouded his alleged behaviour before this month’s revelations, arguing that it deterred other sex abuse victims from reporting crimes.

She spoke out after Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale faced pressure to resign over claims that he was ‘duped’ by ‘fantasist’ allegations against Sir Edward.

Dr Elly Hanson (pictured) , a clinical psychologist and one of the leading experts on child sex abuse, says she would not trust former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath with children if he were alive today

Dr Elly Hanson (pictured) , a clinical psychologist and one of the leading experts on child sex abuse, says she would not trust former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath with children if he were alive today

A report by Mr Veale said seven of 42 allegations of assault by Sir Edward of young boys would justify questioning him under caution – though did not prove his guilt.

Dr Hanson told The Mail on Sunday: ‘On the balance of probabilities and based on the information I have seen, if I was asked to decide if Sir Edward should have access to children I would say he would not meet the modern safeguarding threshold to protect them from risk.’

One of four ‘independent scrutineers’ given full access to secret details of child sex allegations against Sir Edward, Dr Hanson praised the ‘professional, thorough and sensitive’ inquiry.

‘Just because a jury can never decide guilt or otherwise in this case does not mean we cannot or should not even look at it,’ she said.

‘Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith and Harvey Weinstein are all innocent in the eyes of the law, but we have been able to have a discussion about what they are alleged to have done.

Yet some appear to think we are not entitled to have the same discussion about Sir Edward Heath.

‘I am not saying he is in the same category as them, or that he is guilty. But in my view, the fact that he was Prime Minister makes it all the more important that we can discuss it.’

She said some of the evidence obtained by police was ‘very compelling’, often with ‘supporting information’.

Dr Hanson said: ‘The hostile response by some to the inquiry into Sir Edward Heath is disappointing. To label everyone who comes forward as fantasist is unfair and unhelpful. It sends completely the wrong message to all victims of sexual abuse.

‘As we have seen in the Weinstein case, if they feel they won’t be listened to they will remain silent.’

A recent report said seven of 42 allegations of assault by Ted Heath (pictured) of young boys would justify questioning him under caution

A recent report said seven of 42 allegations of assault by Ted Heath (pictured) of young boys would justify questioning him under caution

She was backed by fellow ‘scrutineer’ Perdeep Tanday, who runs a pharmacy business in Salisbury, Sir Edward’s home city.

Mr Tanday, appointed to ‘represent the public view’, said he was ‘shocked’ to learn from detectives of details of Sir Edward’s alleged crimes.

He said: ‘I always had great respect for Edward Heath as a politician but the allegations were shocking.

I believe the majority were 100 per cent genuine and convincing. The evidence was of a high quality and in many cases corroborated.’

Asked if he would have trusted Sir Edward with his three grown-up sons when they were younger, Mr Tanday declined to answer.

Mr Tanday, 51, added: ‘Unlike those criticising Mr Veale, I know the facts.

The evidence was gathered by detectives with decades of experience of investigating rape, murder and other serious crimes. I trust them.’

Mr Veale received further support from Wiltshire MP Claire Perry, former adviser to David Cameron on the sexualisation of children.

‘We would have been doing victims of sexual abuse a great disservice if we hadn’t investigated these claims and I fully support Mike Veale,’ said Ms Perry.

But Wiltshire North Conservative MP James Gray, who knew Sir Edward, said: ‘Mr Veale tried to make a name for himself on the back of the Jimmy Savile hysteria and came unstuck.

‘He has besmirched Sir Edward’s good name and should resign.’

The two other ‘scrutineers’, human rights QC Danny Friedman and surgeon Professor Vassilios Papalois, said Operation Conifer was ‘fair, sensitive and rigorous’.

Share

Copyright © 2017 · Preda Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved