British police end probe into alleged child abuse ring

21st March 2016, Comments 0 comments

British police on Monday said they had closed a high-profile investigation into an alleged murderous VIP child abuse ring after making no arrests -- but stood by the decision to launch the probe.

Started at the end of 2014, Operation Midland has been one of a series of recent investigations into historical child abuse in Britain dating back to the 1970s.

Accusations, first made in the 1980s, about a ring of prominent paedophiles resurfaced after it was found that BBC presenter Jimmy Savile had been a prolific sex offender over many years prior to his death in 2011.

Late former prime minister Edward Heath was one of those named in connection with the inquiry.

The homes of the late Leon Brittan, interior minister under prime minister Margaret Thatcher and then a European commissioner, and Lord Edwin Bramall, a former head of the armed forces, were raided.

The inquiry centred on the claims of one individual, known only as "Nick", and related to a 10-year period in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Operation Midland has now closed," London's Metropolitan Police force said in a statement, as it revealed that a male suspect in his 60s -- a former member of parliament who furiously denied any involvement -- would face no further action.

A team of 31 officers working on Operation Midland will now be free to work on other investigations, it added.

The Met added that the probe had cost £1.7 million ($2.4 million, 2.2 million euros) as of November.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse, in charge of Operation Midland, defended the investigation.

"It is absolutely right that we assessed carefully the allegations made to us in October 2014 and did not dismiss them prematurely," he said in the statement.

"Investigations of non-recent allegations are extremely challenging and complex for all of those involved," he said, adding that alleged victims of historical abuse should still "have the confidence to come forward".


© 2016 AFP

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