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Lady Brittan slams the ‘fundamentally flawed’ police watchdog

Lady Brittan last night criticised the ‘fundamentally flawed’ police watchdog, accusing it of letting Scotland Yard ruin the reputations of innocent people

Lady Brittan last night criticised the ‘fundamentally flawed’ police watchdog, accusing it of letting Scotland Yard ruin the reputations of innocent people.

The 78-year-old widow of former home secretary Leon Brittan, was said to be deeply upset after reading the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) report that absolved officers involved in Operation Midland of any blame.

The force spent 16 months investigating the allegations of fantasist Carl Beech, previously known only as ‘Nick’ who fabricated a series of claims of rape, torture and murder by innocent, well-known names from the military, security services and politics.

The false allegations led to raids on Lady Brittan’s homes in London and North Yorkshire, just weeks after her husband died of cancer in 2015.

One of her friend’s told The Daily Telegraph:  ‘Reading the IOPC report has been an incredibly difficult and distressing experience for Lady Brittan.

The failings of the police are clear for everyone to see in the report from Sir Richard … and the account of Howard Riddle, the former district judge who says he was misled by police during Operation Midland. 

‘Yet the IOPC has found that nobody is to blame. Either the system is fundamentally flawed or we have reached a stage where innocent people can be traduced and have their lives ruined by the Metropolitan Police with complete impunity.’

The force spent 16 months investigating the claims of fantasist Carl Beech, previously known only as 'Nick' who fabricated a series of claims of rape, torture and murder by innocent, well-known names from the military, security services and politics

The force spent 16 months investigating the claims of fantasist Carl Beech, previously known only as ‘Nick’ who fabricated a series of claims of rape, torture and murder by innocent, well-known names from the military, security services and politics

The police investigation into his claims, called Operation Midland, cost taxpayers £2.5million and ended in 2016 without a single arrest.

Lady Brittan’s criticism comes on the same day a district judge who issued the search warrants for the homes of three public figures during Operation Midland has agreed with the findings of a report that concluded he was ‘misled’ by Met Police officers.

Howard Riddle said he agreed with the findings in Sir Richard Henriques’ review that said had he been given all the information, he would never have granted the warrants.

The warrants were issued in February 2015 and led to dawn raids on the homes of Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and Harvey Proctor following allegations made by fantasist Carl Beech.

Beech claimed he and other boys were raped and tortured in the 1970s and 1980s and that one young boy was even murdered by members of a VIP paedophile ring.

He is now serving an 18-year prison sentence for 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud.

Sir Richard’s report, published in its unredacted form on Friday, found the detectives had misled Mr Riddle and should be investigated for perverting the course of justice.

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Riddle, who retired from the bench in 2016, supported Sir Richard’s findings, adding that officers had also skirted standard disclosure proceedings during the process.

He wrote: ‘Sir Richard concludes that I was correct in granting the warrants having regard to the information put before me.

‘However, he identifies a number of undermining factors that should have been drawn to my attention, but were not.

‘Had they been, the report states, ‘it is inconceivable…that any application for a warrant would have been granted’.

‘The conclusion is that the search warrants were obtained unlawfully.

‘It is obvious to me that Sir Richard has considered all the evidence put before him with great care. I have complete confidence in his report and its conclusions.’

Mr Riddle said officers had also avoided disclosing any ‘undermining factors’ – writing only ‘N/A’ in that section.

He wrote: ‘In an investigation such as Operation Midland, it is right to expect that undermining factors would be recorded in a log or similar document from the beginning of the investigation and available to the officer making the search warrant application, and to the court.’

Sir Richard was called in after 16-month Operation Midland ended in 2016 without a single arrest. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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