Allegations that former prime minister Sir Edward Heath raped and indecently assaulted boys were sufficiently credible to justify questioning him under caution were he alive today.
That is the conclusion of Operation Conifer, an inquiry by Wiltshire Police, whose results were announced this morning.
The inquiry, which is thought to have cost around £1.5 million, examined a total of 42 claims. It concluded that Heath would have been interviewed under caution about seven of those allegations.
However police stressed that no inference of guilt should be drawn from the inquiry's conclusions.
The allegations include one of rape of a male under 16, three of indecent assault on a male under 16, four of indecent assault on a male under 14, and two of indecent assault on a male over 16, according to the BBC. Three of the claims related to "paid sexual encounters."
Heath served as Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974 and as leader of the Conservatives from 1965 to 1975.
A lifelong bachelor, he has been dogged by allegations about his private life, specifically questions about his sexuality and the claims of sexual abuse.
Some have criticised the inquiry, with The Telegraph claiming that at least one of those who made the allegations against Heath is also dead, and so their claim was "effectively made from beyond the grave."
The Telegraph, renowned for its pro-Conservative stance, c,laims around a quarter of the allegations contained in the report were made by third parties, rather than direct victims of abus