A BROTHEL madam at the centre of claims relating to a trial dropped by Wiltshire Police in the early 90s has told the Journal she has “no knowledge of any misconduct” by Sir Edward Heath.

The Daily Telegraph named Myra Forde as the woman who made the allegation that the former prime minister, who lived in The Close for 20 years, was caught up in a child sexual abuse scandal.

Forde was twice jailed for running an under-age prostitution ring from her home on Meadow Road in the centre of Salisbury, and in 2005 threatened to kill herself in front of a Journal reporter.

News broke on Monday that Wiltshire Police were looking for witnesses or people who might have been abused by the former prime minister, who lived in The Close for 20 years until his death in 2005.

It came after a former retired police officer with the force alleged a trial was called off in the 90s after the defendant threatened to expose Sir Edward for his involvement in offences concerning children.

Research into the Journal archives reveal that Forde first appeared in magistrates charged with running a brothel at the beginning of September 1992, three years before she was jailed for six years for the same offences.

At the court appearance she denied the charges and the case was adjourned until September 18, 1992 but later editions of the Journal make no reference to the case.

Speaking through her solicitor from 1992 Richard Griffiths she said the national media attention had caused her “distress”.

Mr Griffiths said: “My firm acted for Myra Forde in relation to the case which the prosecution discontinued on the day of the trial and which has been the subject of a great deal of speculation.

“My former client wishes me to make it very clear that at no stage did she state that Ted Heath was a client and at no stage did she threaten to expose him as a client of hers if the prosecution was continued. For the avoidance of any doubt Myra Forde wishes me to make it clear that she had no involvement with Ted Heath of any kind and has no knowledge of any misconduct on his part.

“It is my recollection assisted by discussion with my colleague who was at Winchester Crown Court on the day the case was discontinued and by the barrister we instructed to represent Myra Forde, that the prosecution had witness problems. In particular it may have been the case that one of the witnesses was at court in the cells and perhaps therefore not best inclined to assist the prosecution.

“The prosecution took what at the time seemed a sensible decision that they could not prove their case and offered no evidence. This decision would have been announced in open court and would be a matter of record.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) are now investigating if Wiltshire Police quietly dropped the case to save Sir Edward from a possible scandal.

Winchester Crown Court heard in 1995 how Forde controlled under-age prostitutes with Judge Martin Tucker QC describing her home as a “festering sore of vice”.

Forde reportedly would lure girls as young as 13 from residential care into the sex industry with the promise of money. It was described by the Journal at the time as being Wiltshire’s biggest-ever vice investigation involving vulnerable girls.

In a bizarre twist, ten years later Forde contacted the Journal to claiming she was going to kill herself after a bailiff called at her home with a court order relating to unpaid parking ticket penalties.

After allowing a reporter and a photographer into to her house Forde told the Journal she had taken four Valium tablets because she did not know how she was going to pay back £665 owed to the council.

She said: “I’ve got no money. I don’t know what to do.”

Forde was once again in front of the courts in 2009 when she was handed a five year sentence for inciting prostitution and ordered to pay back £25,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The retired officer came forward with evidence regarding the Forde case last year with the force handing over the enquiry to the IPCC in March.

Speaking outside Sir Edward’s former home Arundells on Monday, Superintendent Sean Memory of Wiltshire Police said: “Wiltshire Police do not have a direct accusation relating to Ted Heath. The point is that if the allegation from the trial is true then I do believe victims are out there, what I want to do is appeal to those victims to have the courage to come forward.

“I am looking for witnesses or victims from anytime. I don’t have any specific locations, he would have moved around as an MP so it would be wrong for me to say it only took place here [Arundells].

“We are in changing times where people are much more willing to come forward with child sex abuse allegations and there has been a long history with Jimmy Saville where people now hopefully trust the police to investigate these historical matters.”

Sir Edward, never married and refused to comment on his sexuality, but he was rumoured to be homosexual.

An IPCC spokesman said: “It is alleged that a criminal prosecution was not pursued when a person threatened to expose that Sir Edward Heath may have been involved in offences concerning children.

“In addition to this allegation, the IPCC will examine whether Wiltshire Police subsequently took any steps to investigate these claims.”

The allegations came less than a week after the 50th anniversary of him becoming leader of the Conservative party and on the day a new photo exhibition marking the occasion opened to the public at Arundells.

In a statement the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation said: “We welcome the investigation by Wiltshire Police which we wholeheartedly believe will clear Sir Edward’s name and we will cooperate fully with the police in their enquiries.”

Any victims are being urged to make contact with the NSPCC or call the police on 101.