The gross pursuit of Grocer Heath
Historical abuse, Issue 1437
WHEN Wiltshire Police officers turned up at the Eye offices last month to talk about Hello, Sailor-type cartoons and photo bubbles that once ribbed Sir Edward Heath in the magazine more than 40 years ago, the visit would have been faintly comical had it not been such a waste of yet more police time and public money.
It was a sign of the lengths those involved in Operation Conifer (cost so far: roughly £900,000) are prepared to go to find something – anything – that might stand up wild allegations of historical child sex abuse, and worse, levelled at the former Conservative prime minister. The pointless police trawl through the Eye joke archive pales, however, against the way the Wiltshire force has diverted resources to investigate outlandish and discredited allegations of Satanic ritual abuse supposedly carried out by a VIP paedophile ring said to include the late Grocer Heath.
These claims were comprehensively debunked in the Mail on Sunday last November. Under the headline “Sir Edward Heath accuser is ‘satanic sex fantasist’: Police warned by OWN expert that ritual abuse claims are false”, the paper highlighted the work of Dr Rachel Hoskins, a criminologist specialising in religion-based ritual crime. She was commissioned by the Wiltshire force in September to examine witness statements and other evidence gathered to investigate allegations, including extreme claims of Satanic abuse, made by four women who, says Dr Hoskins, had met and swopped stories.
One of the women, whom Dr Hoskins called “Lucy X”, began “recovering” memories of childhood abuse under hypnosis by a psychotherapist in 1988. This was at the height of the recovered memory movement within psychiatry and psychotherapy which sparked the worldwide Satanic panic (Eyes passim ad nauseam). The notion that networks of Satanist paedophiles were sexually abusing and sacrificing children, and adults, in occult ceremonies spread to the UK in the late 1980s. It was resoundingly discredited in a 1994 report commissioned by the government which concluded there was no corroborating evidence and that Satanic ritual abuse was a myth.
Since then other researchers have argued that false memories of Satanic abuse and multiple personalities are implanted in vulnerable adult patients with mental health problems by psychotherapists in sessions using hypnosis and other dubious “recovered memory” techniques. Lucy X, who claimed child sacrifice took place on the altar at Tidworth village church in Wiltshire, reported this to police in 1989. Her allegations were dismissed as fantasy; but Lucy X persisted and more recently presented them again to Wiltshire Police, making lurid claims about a VIP paedophile ring said to include Sir Edward. Dr Hoskins wrote how, in diaries Lucy X’s psychotherapist had encouraged her to keep, she recalled Satanic ritual abuse in empty houses, churches and on Salisbury Plain. Eventually she “remembered” that members of the ring “gorged themselves on blood and body parts. They maimed and murdered children in orgiastic sacrifices at the stake or on altars.”
According to Dr Hoskins, Lucy X spoke with three other women she knew well. “They met and swopped fantastical tales. Earlier this year  they would ‘remember’ that Heath was a prime mover in a network of sadistic paedophile abusers. He had apparently taken part in rituals surrounded by candles on the forest floor.”
In her Mail on Sunday article, Dr Hoskins, whose remit extended to the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland, also revealed that she had examined claims of historical sex abuse by the self-proclaimed victim known as “Nick” who, she discovered, had made his false allegations after recovering memories in therapy. The Met operation, she wrote, “rested on a sole and now discredited witness called ‘Nick’ against figures such as Leon Brittan, Lord Bramall, Harvey Proctor, Greville Janner and Heath. ‘The evidence overlaps’ I was reliably informed. Nick had named some of those accused in the Wiltshire-based Conifer inquiry, and the woman behind the Heath accusations (and her associates) had named some of Nick’s Westminster VIPs.”
Operation Midland was severely criticised in a report last October by retired high court judge Sir Richard Henriques. He concluded the investigation was riddled with flaws, including investigating officers’ reliance on “Nick” who has been exposed as a fantasist. Nick’s “evidence” also features in the Wiltshire investigation. In witness statements he referred to a yacht owned by Sir Edward, said he had seen Heath in the Dolphin Square complex in Westminster – where he claimed extreme sexual abuse occurred – and that the former PM had saved him from being castrated by Mr Proctor, the former Tory MP.
‘Preposterous and fantastical’
After her two-month study Dr Hoskins concluded in a 150-page report to Wiltshire Police that the allegations of satanic abuse were “preposterous”, “fantastical” and based entirely on false memories.
She wrote in the Mail on Sunday that she had decided to go public because Wiltshire Police had suggested she re-submit her report, but without questioning witnesses’ credibility. She refused to do so. Furthermore, although Wiltshire had accepted the report, she was not convinced it would be circulated to all the relevant people, including MPs.
“I clearly hadn’t told the police what they wanted to hear. I have exposed a catalogue of fabrication at the heart of two major inquiries. Worse still, Operation Conifer ploughs ahead. People remain accused of things that simply never happened,” she wrote.
In a statement following the Mail on Sunday article, Mike Veale, chief constable of Wiltshire, said: “The recent media coverage regarding a confidential report… referred to satanic ritual sex abuse. Let me be clear, this part of the investigation is only one small element of the overall enquiry and does not relate to Sir Edward Heath.”
Although, puzzlingly, Veale wrote that the Satanic claims did not directly involve Sir Edward, in the close-knit world of zealots who still believe Satanic abuse exists, allegations of it specifically against Sir Edward still circulate on the internet.
A shower called RAINS
The Eye has discovered a bizarre report posted on a blog called “Breaking Down the News” under the headline: “The Who’s Who of Satanic Child Abuse.” It appears to have been written in 2011 by an unnamed member of an organisation called RAINS (Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support), which was formed in 1989 to support its members, mainly psychotherapists and social workers, who claimed they were dealing with cases of Satanic ritual abuse.
The 19-page report centres on allegations from several self-proclaimed survivors of Satanic ritual abuse – one with multiple personalities or “alters” – who claim they were tortured and sexually abused in occult ceremonies. They also claim they witnessed or were aware of numerous other child and adult victims being “punished”, raped, sacrificed and murdered by a Satanic cult from the late 1980s until the last entry in the report in February 2010. Locations included castles, stately homes, forests, parks, churches, private houses and Pinewood studios. Bodies were buried, dumped in the sea, cut up or otherwise “disposed of”. One report told of an “unregistered child” being sacrificed, on Halloween, in the grounds of a ruined abbey; another of babies being bred for sacrifice or abuse; and several referred to victims being crucified upside down.
The report lists dozens of names of alleged cult members, high priests, grand masters, commanders, keepers, watchers and enforcers. They include high profile politicians, celebrities, actors, journalists, peers, police chiefs, bishops and convicted killers. One notable name is the late Sir Edward Heath.
Regarding him, the report states: “Ted Heath. Former Prime Minister. Homosexual but not exclusively, where children are concerned. He has been mentioned by at least 5 SRAS (Satanic Ritual Abuse Survivors) none of whom know each other. Several have described long finger nails. Am told that he wore false claws added to his nails, with which he clawed his child victims. He died in 2005. The cult held their own funeral on (the night of) 31 July – 1 August 2005.”
It is astonishing Wiltshire Police still seem to give credence to the Satanic elements of the wide-ranging Operation Conifer. As Dr Hoskins wrote: “Wiltshire Police insist that not all their evidence is based on claims of ritual abuse. We will see. But those cases that are based on this pernicious fallacy must be closed immediately. Did it really take an expert on rituals to tell them that the likelihood of a child being ritually sacrificed in broad daylight in Wiltshire was worthy of closer scrutiny?”
More top stories in the latest issue:
ROUBLE & STRIFE
UK shell companies were used to help the laundering of billions of stolen roubles through London and New York, for which Deutsche Bank has been heavily fined.
Those behind Cardiff University’s ‘brutal’ restructuring, which saw its School of Medicine slump in the league tables, are all off to pastures new.
As expected, Cleveland Police did abuse anti-terrorist laws when it spied on two of its own officers, a lawyer and local journalists.
The convictions following the HBOS fraud scandal are a big win for Thames Valley police but an indictment of slow-witted regulators and watchdogs.
FIRE & RESCUE
Shetland firefighters were sent to an incident two ferry journeys away in one of several blunders by the newly centralised control centre in Dundee.
The Midlands Engine, counterpart to the Northern Powerhouse, looks set to deliver as much for companies in offshore tax havens as for local people.
SIGN OF THE CRAPITA TIMES
Capita, which runs PIP assessments, was unable to provide sign language interpreters for a crucial meeting with representatives of Deaf claimants.
ROCKY HORROCKS SHOW
After regional centre closures and a disastrous new group tuition policy, Open University boss Peter Horrocks announces a hasty root-and-branch review.
Just six school nurses will cover thousands of pupils at 152 schools in the East Riding of Yorkshire after £500,000 is cuts from local public health services.
PUBS & PUBMEN
MPs reopen the appointment process for the role of pub code adjudicator as the new man in the job, Paul Newby, loses the confidence of many pub tenants.