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Politician who helped prove guilt of Ian Huntley investigated for saying gay people make her feel uncomfortable

Emma Powys Maurice October 4, 2019

Cllr Patricia Wiltshire feels "very, very uncomfortable" seeing "professional homosexuals" on TV (Twitter/@PEJWiltshire/Channel 4)

A local politician who helped prosecute Ian Huntley has been investigated for derogatory remarks about “professional homosexuals” making her feel “uncomfortable”.

Patricia Wiltshire is a forensic ecologist who, in 2003, was instrumental in solving the Soham Murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman and bringing Ian Huntley to justice. She is now a deputy chairman of Mole Valley District Council in Surrey.

A formal complaint was made about councillor Wiltshire’s comments at a council meeting on July 9, in which councillors discussed creating a rainbow pedestrian crossing in the borough.

Surrey Live heard Wiltshire give an impassioned three-minute speech on how people should celebrate their achievements, not their sexuality.

Wiltshire, 77, claimed to “support and protect anyone” who suffers from discrimination, but also said that being “constantly bombarded by professional homosexuals” who present “a lot of vulgarity” on television makes her feel uncomfortable.

Kieron Richardson kisses his husband Carl Hyland in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks – a scene that would probably make Wiltshire feel “uncomfortable” (Channel 4/YouTube)

“As a heterosexual I feel very, very uncomfortable,” she said. “We are talking about making the gay, lesbian and bisexual people uncomfortable. But I’m uncomfortable. Why should I be made uncomfortable?”

She said that if people “flaunted it all the time” then they were “bound to come up against prejudice” adding: “You cannot protect from prejudice. You can only prevent the action that might come from prejudice.”

Wiltshire admitted to not “knowing very much” about the LGBT+ community so had carried out her own research so she could make an informed contribution to the debate. It’s not clear what this “research” was.

Speaking after the meeting, Wiltshire denied being homophobic. “We have to accept people for who they are. I’m not anti-gay. I’m not anti-anything. I believe in diversity.

The comments were made during a discussion about a rainbow pedestrian crossing (Robin Pope/NurPhoto/Getty)

“But I do feel uncomfortable watching television. I feel very uncomfortable about the language that is used and the innuendos referring to sexuality. Sometimes it’s not innuendos. It’s overt.”

She later clarified her points in an email to councillors, which has been seen in full by Surrey Live: “I am not happy to celebrate anyone’s sexuality because I do not understand the need to do so.

“I celebrate human diversity, but I genuinely cannot see what there is to celebrate in one’s sexuality. It is the word ‘celebrate’ with which I have a problem.”

A Freedom of Information request revealed that a formal complaint was made about Wiltshire’s comments and an internal investigation had been carried out.

A spokesperson for the council said they could not comment on the results of the investigation, as the proceedings are internal and confidential, but Wiltshire was reportedly “perfectly satisfied” with the outcome.

More: council meeting, Ian Huntley, rainbow pedestrian crossing, Soham Murders, Surrey

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