Met chief Dame Cressida Dick is under pressure to explain why a senior detective at the centre of the ‘Nick’ scandal was promoted while under investigation for alleged misconduct in the case.
Former prime minister Sir Edward Heath’s godson Lincoln Seligman said the Commissioner must be held to account over her force’s decision to elevate Diane Tudway two years before she was cleared of wrongdoing in the VIP child sex abuse inquiry.
As anger mounts over how a number of senior officers involved in Operation Midland have escaped any form of sanction, Mr Seligman called for Dame Cressida to be questioned on how a string of bungling Nick detectives have been rewarded with gongs, promotions and bumper pension payouts.
Former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath’s godson has said Dame Cressida Dick (pictured) must be questioned on how officer Diane Tudway was promoted two years before she was cleared of wrongdoing in the VIP child sex abuse enquiry
He told the Mail: ‘It appears that the vital ingredient within the Met for achieving rapid promotion, a peerage or a hefty pension is incompetence, gullibility and severe lack of judgment. Cressida Dick… should be held to account for allowing these rewards for obvious failure.’
Last month former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, falsely accused by ‘Nick’ – real name Carl Beech – of being part of a VIP child sex ring, accused senior officers engulfed in the scandal of closing ranks and being part of a ‘self-preservation society’.
Mrs Tudway, lambasted in a judge-led official report into Operation Midland, was promoted from Detective Chief Inspector to Detective Superintendent in July 2017.
Her elevation came eight months after the police watchdog launched an inquiry into how she and two junior colleagues obtained search warrants to raid the homes of VIPs including ex-head of the Armed Forces Field Marshal Lord Bramall and former home secretary Leon Brittan.
Mrs Tudway’s promotion was confirmed three months after Dame Cressida, who authorised the setting up of Operation Midland in November 2014 and whose conduct in the case has been referred to watchdogs, took over as head of the Met.
Sir Edward Heath’s godson Lincoln Seligman is pictured centre leaving court in Westminster last year with former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor (left) and the son of the late Labour peer Daniel Janner QC (right)
Mrs Tudway had close dealings with Beech and spent 17 hours watching his interviews from ‘beginning to end’ and ‘believed’ him, according to a withering report by ex-High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques.
Last July the Independent Office for Police Conduct announced Mrs Tudway had been cleared of misconduct in Operation Midland, saying there was nothing to suggest she ‘acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the judge’ who granted the search warrants.
The Met said promotion processes were based on merit and any decision was made by a panel through an assessment.
‘Everyone involved has been promoted, ennobled or pensioned off’: Anger of Lord Bramall’s son that NO police officer has paid the price for bungled VIP paedophile ring probe that tarnished his heroic father’s final years
By Rebecca Hardy for The Daily Mail
Shortly after Field Marshal Lord Bramall shared his final wishes with his family, his only son Nicolas started tapping out an email.
Furious that his father’s life should end without anyone facing justice for the shambolic paedophile investigation that made a misery of this great man’s final years, he wrote to Scotland Yard Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.
‘I am angry, as you would be if it was your father who has had to endure such an ordeal, and totally bewildered that the Met refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing by any of the police officers involved,’ he wrote on November 2, 2019. Dame Cressida did not reply.
She had visited his father at his home on September 18 last year to apologise in person for the litany of mistakes made in Operation Midland. Nicolas was not present at the meeting, witnessed by his sister Sara, and ten days later wrote a furious letter to Dame Cressida complaining about how the ailing D-Day hero had been treated by the Met. She replied to this correspondence a few weeks later, but not in a way that satisfied Nicolas – prompting him to send a second email to the Met chief.
Lord Bramall, one of the most outstanding military figures of the past century, died peacefully at his home in Hampshire ten days later. He spent his final morning with his granddaughter, Charlotte, 39.
Dame Cressida Dick pictured walking through the central lobby at the state opening of parliament in Westminster, London, in December last year
‘Dad was strangely worried, not about dying but about the manner in which he’d die. It was great relief he went suddenly and didn’t suffer,’ says Nicolas.
Lord Bramall was 95 and, thankfully, lived long enough to see the fantasist known as Nick – real name Carl Beech – imprisoned and wholly discredited for his wicked lies.
He was the attention-seeking, so-called ‘whistle-blower’ who came forward with wildly, implausible accusations of historical child abuse and murder, involving several high-profile men including Lord Bramall.
It led to a 16-month police inquiry, Operation Midland, which failed to find a shred of evidence and which was later ruled ‘unlawful’. But not one of the officers who threw this valiant old soldier to the wolves has been brought to justice. Nicolas, 67, a landscape gardener who lives in Dorset with his second wife Pip, maintains his father ‘ran out of steam’ after that.
‘He fought very hard. Anyone who’s seen those police interviews he had under caution can see he was absolutely fuming,’ says Nicolas. ‘It was all pretty appalling. We were even asked whether we were happy he was alone with his great- grandchildren. This is a man who was held in extraordinarily high regard for a life of duty.
‘His last four years should have been years of quiet reflection but they were anything but. He became less secure about himself. We had long discussions about it. He’d say: “I’m not a bad chap am I?” To be accused of such heinous crimes as rape, buggery, torture, with no evidence at all…
Met Supt Diane Tudway pictured at a remembrance service in London in 2014. She was the senior investigating officer in Operation Midland
‘I don’t think he ever got his head round how the Metropolitan Police behaved. Dad always thought and said he’d led a charmed life but that charmed life ended in March 2015 when officers turned up at his home. Not just a couple of officers but more than 20 and, of course, Dad had no idea what it was about. All he was told was there had been a complaint about him by one man 40 years ago. They left it for three months before he was interviewed.’
Edwin (Dwin) Bramall rose to the very top of the Army and went on to run umpteen national organisations and reshape conventional military thinking with his huge brain and sharp wit.
But none of this mattered a jot when the witless box-tickers in the Met fell for the fantasies of a serial liar. They even insisted Beech’s claims of abuse at the hands of a VIP paedophile ring, which included among other prominent men, former prime minister Edward Heath, ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor and former home secretary Leon Brittan, ‘credible and true’.
Former Met deputy assistant commissioner Steve Rodhouse, who was the senior officer involved with Operation Midland, is now head of operations at the National Crime Agency on £245,000 a year. Similarly Cressida Dick, who sanctioned the investigation, has been elevated to a Dame and… well, let’s just say, those who presided over one of the most shameful episodes in Met history are all doing pretty well. Nicolas is now calling for an independent public inquiry into the shambolic Operation Midland.
‘Since Dad has died I’ve just felt more and more angry,’ says Nicolas. ‘I find it deplorable that, not only has no one said “we’ve got this spectacularly wrong,” but, everyone involved has either been promoted, ennobled or pensioned off. You can’t help feeling the police have closed ranks. In any other field if you made a mess up of these proportions you’d have to be held accountable, wouldn’t you?’
We meet in the sitting room that was turned upside down less than five years ago when the Met ordered a dawn raid. Lord Bramall was caring for his wife of 66 years, Avril, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, when more than 20 officers ransacked their home. The poor woman kept asking what she’d done as she was shunted from room to room.
Dame Cressida Dick (pictured)
‘Don’t the police have people who are trained to sort of say, “what do you think of this chap? Is he telling the truth?” before they go barging into someone’s home?’ asks Nicolas whose mother died shortly after that intrusion.
‘I believe they were so seduced by the idea of a high-level paedophile ring they wanted it to be true. I believe the police are culpable not just of incompetence and negligence but of illegality.’
He is not alone. In October last year, Howard Riddle, the former senior district judge who issued warrants to search not just the Bramalls’ home but the homes of Lady Brittan, whose husband had died two weeks earlier, and Mr Proctor, said he was ‘misled’ by police officers and that the applications for the warrants had been ‘unlawful’. An investigation into the Met for perverting the course of justice was expected to follow. It never has.
Nicolas has contained his fury for three months. He last saw his father on Remembrance Sunday, shortly after he was discharged from hospital to spend his final days at home. His father’s memorial service will be at Winchester Cathedral on April 30. He asked his son to deliver a tribute.
‘Whether or not Cressida Dick will be at the service I don’t know, but there’ll be a chunk about Operation Midland,’ Nicolas says.
‘I’ll say Dad laid the blame fairly and squarely at the door of the Metropolitan Police. He did not blame Carl Beech. In fact he showed a certain amount of compassion for him. He blamed the Metropolitan Police entirely for being so stupid as to believe him.’
In a statement, Scotland Yard said: ‘The Commissioner met Lord Bramall and his family to personally apologise on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service last September. Nicolas Bramall subsequently raised a number of concerns… The Commissioner replied to his letter in October acknowledging his concerns and again apologising for the damage caused by the investigation into Carl Beech’s false allegations.’