Detective involved in Sir Edward Heath probe retires on medical grounds

A senior detective involved in the Sir Edward Heath inquiry has retired on medical grounds.

Detective Superintendent Sean Memory has been signed off from work at Wiltshire Police on long-term sick leave since January 2017.

He was the officer in charge of Operation Conifer, the force's inquiry into allegations against former prime minister Sir Edward.

The report concluded that Sir Edward would be questioned over allegations that he raped and indecently assaulted boys as young as 10, were he alive today.

Operation Conifer proved controversial from the start, when Mr Memory made a television appeal outside Sir Edward's former home, Arundells.

During the appeal in August 2015, Mr Memory urged potential victims of Sir Edward to come forward to police.

Sir Edward Heath died in 2005 (Chris Ison/PA)
Sir Edward Heath died in 2005 (Chris Ison/PA)

It was later revealed that the senior officer was under investigation for misconduct in relation to a separate matter.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police confirmed: "We can confirm that an application from Detective Superintendent Sean Memory to retire on medical grounds has been permitted.

"Clearly, it would be inappropriate for us to release any further information which relates to this decision."

Regulation 10 A (5) of the Police (Conduct) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 allows for an officer to give notice of intent to resign or retire while the subject of misconduct proceedings.

The appropriate authority must be satisfied that the officer is "medically unfit to continue to be the subject of proceedings" under the regulations.

There may also be "other exceptional circumstances" that justify the appropriate authority giving consent for the notice of intention.

The two-year Operation Conifer report, costing £1.5 million, concluded that seven claims against Sir Edward were sufficiently credible to justify questioning him under caution.

The 100-page report stressed that "no inference of guilt" should be made from the fact that Sir Edward would have faced questioning.

Sir Edward was prime minister between 1970 and 1974, and served as MP for Bexley.

He died at home in Salisbury, Wiltshire, in July 2005 at the age of 89.