PM SEX CLAIMS Police to release report on abuse claims against Sir Ted Heath… but was the former Prime Minister a Paedophile? Cops say Sir Edward is linked to 42 assaults on boys and cover-up goes right to the top but his friends say it’s all lies he can’t defend and yet another disgraceful witch-hunt Opinions have been fiercely divided since it was first announced two years ago that five police forces were jointly investigating allegations that the late Tory grandee molested dozens of children. Tomorrow the findings of that inquiry, Operation Conifer, will be published by the force that led it, Wiltshire Police, and the public will be able to decide on the credibility of the claims against Mr Heath. Although it is unthinkable to many that the man who ran Britain from 1970 to 1974 was a paedophile, the report is expected to link him to 42 assaults on youngsters aged 11 to 15, between the 1950s and 1990s. Some were apparently rent boys. Nine of the 42 cases had been on police files for years but were dismissed for reasons as yet unknown. The police first began investigating sex abuse claims in 2015 The standout claim is that Mr Heath once raped an under-age male. Two further incidents are said to involve his hobby of sailing yachts around Jersey and Guernsey. Two others apparently took place in Wiltshire, where Mr Heath lived in 18th Century mansion Arundells, next to Salisbury Cathedral. Those familiar with the report have said seven of its 42 allegations are credible enough to warrant the police questioning Mr Heath under caution if he were alive today. But the former PM died in 2005, aged 89. Heath is pictured with paedophile Jimmy Savile CLICK TO ENLARGE Mr Heath’s backers complain that he cannot defend himself, so any accusations published tomorrow will be left hanging, sullying his reputation without any scrutiny in court. They have been furious with the inquiry from the outset. When it was launched, its head Superintendent Sean Memory stood outside Mr Heath’s home and appealed on TV cameras for “victims” to come forward. By any standard, this was a questionable word to use before any crime had been proved. Mr Heath’s supporters have called the two-year inquiry, which has cost about £1.5million, a “scandalous” waste of public money and a witch- hunt. Lord Armstrong of Ilminster and Lord Butler of Brockwell, who worked with Mr Heath during his 44 months in 10 Downing Street, have criticised the inquiry and called for an independent judicial review into it. Just yesterday Lord Butler called it “disgraceful” and added: “I respect the police’s duty to investigate allegations of child abuse but there are strong grounds for criticism of the way this inquiry has been conducted.” This week Mr Heath’s godson, Lincoln Seligman, claimed Mike Veale, the chief constable of Wiltshire Police who has overseen the inquiry, was “acting as judge and jury” and had “already convicted” Mr Heath. In an interview at the height of Operation Conifer, Supt Veale reportedly said he was “120 per cent certain” Mr Heath was guilty — a statement the former leader’s backers believe he had no right to make. Some newspapers have also run letters and articles rubbishing the idea that Mr Heath — who never married and was said to be asexual — molested children. At the front of their minds are the late Home Secretary Sir Leon Brittan and ex-Army chief Lord Bramall, who were also accused of paedophilia in recent years. They faced police investigations that were later found to be based on the untrue claims of a single accuser known only as “Nick” — later branded a fantasist. Lord Bramall, and Sir Leon’s widow Lady Brittan, each received about £100,000 in compensation last month from the Metropolitan Police. Wiltshire Police is said to have been careful not to be taken in by fantasists. Leaks suggest the force knows that some people who came forward had mental health problems. Others had poor memories. And one has supposedly made false claims and may be prosecuted. But there is another side to the story, which police insist they had a duty to investigate. A source who has already read the report has told The Sun some of the strongest claims against Mr Heath are compelling because none of the people who made them knows each other yet have given accounts which appear to match in key ways. The source, who we agreed not to name, said: “Some of the statements [in the report] show a pattern and that’s what’s so convincing.” We also understand none of the alleged victims has asked for any financial compensation, although it is widely known Mr Heath left £5million for charitable purposes in his will, most of which is used to run a body set up in his name. The source said: “Being listened to is the thing which has motivated these people to come forward, not money.” The Sun has also learned that a group of Britain’s best ex-detectives worked on Operation Conifer and were convinced by what they heard. In total, 24 people were attached to the inquiry, including eight brought out of retirement. Each allegation was treated individually, as a stand-alone case, to ensure maximum detail. The source said: “The retired officers remained on it all the way through, which gave it consistency. They are inclined to believe Mr Heath did carry out sexual abuse of children. “Having proved themselves in their careers, they wouldn’t want to damage their records unless sure.” So is Mr Heath’s reputation about to be trashed? It may not be quite that simple. Operation Conifer is limited to deciding if the allegations would have justified questioning Mr Heath — but cannot for a range of reasons say if he was guilty or not. First, its remit was just to compile evidence then rank its credibility. Second, any forensic evidence has almost certainly vanished. Lastly, for the years before mobile phone records and CCTV, it is far harder for anyone to prove where they were — or where Mr Heath was. But one claim came to light early in the inquiry that has further fuelled the idea Mr Heath hid a dark secret. Some of his friends insisted he could not have abused children because he had 24-hour police protection and a chauffeur, so was rarely alone. But it is now known he spent long spells without his police guard or chauffeur. Contrary to what his friends have said, records show he also owned at least two cars, a Rover 2000 and a Vauxhall Viva. Photos back this up, raising the possibility that even those who socialised with the very private politician may not have known him that well. There are also claims that the Establishment has fought to contain a potentially huge scandal about how Britain has been run. What other monstrous stories might have been kept under wraps? The source said: “Mike Veale came under pressure not to start the inquiry then to abandon it. But he knew it was the right thing to do. “Some of this pressure came from senior figures in the Houses of Lords and Commons. It all looks very like an Establishment cover-up.” Many expect Supt Veale to resign if the report falls short of convincing the public that Heath could have been a child abuser. But not everyone. Theresa May defended the inquiry last week. She told the BBC: “I set up a whole public inquiry, when Home Secretary, into the question of child sexual abuse. It is important we take seriously issues which in the past have tended to be sidelined.” Asked if she thought the allegations against Mr Heath were credible, she said they were “a matter for the police to investigate”. Wiltshire Police is about to put the claims against Mr Heath to the test. The arguments about his reputation will intensify but, given that you cannot convict a dead man, so is the row about whether this inquiry should ever have been allowed.