Carl Beech, the fantasist behind the bogus VIP paedophile probe, has been jailed for 18 years for perverting the course of justice and fraud
A fantasist whose repeated lies ruin the lives and tarnished the reputations of the high-profile men he falsely accused of being murderers and paedophiles has been jailed for 18 years.
The Metropolitan Police spent £2 million looking into Carl Beech’s allegations – made over the course of hours’ worth of tearful interviews – that he had been sadistically raped and abused by famous Westminster figures in the 1970s and 1980s.
The 51-year-old former nurse made malicious and deceitful claims about men including 91-year-old Normandy veteran Field Marshal Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.
All three men had their homes searched by Metropolitan Police officers during the Operation Midland probe, which was set up in 2014 to look into the divorced father-of-one’s allegations.
The court heard a series of heartbreaking victim impact statements from Beech’s victims and their families, with the wife of former Home Secretary Leon Brittan has given a devastating account of the impact of the ‘VIP paedophile ring’ lies and the blundering police investigation which followed.
A statement by Lady Diana Brittan, whose late husband was falsely accused by fantasist Carl Beech of heinous crimes including rape and torture, was read out ahead of the Beech’s sentencing today.
Lady Brittan said that, in the last few months of his life, her husband faced ‘a series of entirely false allegations and smears of the very worst kind’.
Lady Diana Brittan, whose late husband Lord Brittan was falsely accused by Beech of heinous crimes including rape and torture
Carl Beech was convicted of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud
In a statement read out in court today, Lady Brittan wrote: ‘I felt he was caught up in a totally unjustified witch hunt which took its toll on both him and me.
‘The impact of these dreadful allegations on the entire global network of anyone caught up in such matters is indescribable, incalculable and unending.’
Lady Brittan said her husband was alone in hospital, terminally ill with cancer, when the BBC broadcast an interview Beech, then known only as ‘Nick’. On the day of his death, she had broadcasters outside her front door.
She continued: ‘I was so worried I even had to arrange security for his burial, something no widow should have to do.
‘To lose someone that you love is bad enough in itself but in these circumstances, it was truly terrible.’
‘Only six weeks after his death, our two homes in London and Yorkshire were raided by the Metropolitan Police executing search warrants… the experience of having my house in London searched by a dozen police officers for 12 hours was traumatizing.
‘At the same time, our house in Yorkshire was searched for two days. There the attic, the garage and the garden and hedgerows were combed through. The whole house was turned upside down, and questions were asked about ‘newly turned earth’. Van loads of personal effects were removed.’
She praised the Daily Mail for questioning the claims, which the police had wrongly called ‘credible and true’ at a press conference.
Lady Brittan said: ‘My husband’s name has now been cleared, but he will never know this.
‘As a lawyer, he always believed in the judicial system – as do I, as a former magistrate. But the system has let him and my family down.’
Today’s sentencing hearing was attended by Daniel Janner QC, whose father, the late Labour peer Lord Janner was wrongly accused by Beech and former MP Harvey Proctor, who was wrongly smeared as a killer by the fantasist
She repeated a statement from Lord Brittan’s rabbi, Baroness Julia Neuberger, who spoke to the former politician in his final weeks.
Baroness Neuberger said: ‘The effect was a cruel one – he felt desperately ill, cut off from much of his social and business circle, and traduced. It had a powerful effect on a brave man. He was denied the dignified death he deserved.’
Lady Brittan said the claims travelled around the world and her grandchildren had to be shield from the lies.
Carl Beech, 51, repeatedly told officers he had been abused in the 1970s and 1980s by a string of high-profile figures from the worlds of politics, the military and security services.
Among those the former nurse falsely accused were 91-year-old Normandy veteran Field Marshal Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, all of whom had their homes raided in the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland investigation.
Holiday photos disprove Beech’s claim that he had a lifelong fear of water and could not swim
On Monday, Beech was convicted by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud.
Speaking during his sentencing hearing, prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said: ‘In this case, the defendant’s conduct amounted to the cynical manipulation of the criminal justice system on an unprecedented scale.’
He said that the offences demonstrated an ‘unparalleled cruelty and disregard’ towards those who he wrongly accused.
Mr Badenoch added: ‘These offences were motivated by entirely selfish purposes.’
‘I was never as badly wounded in the military as I have been by the allegations’: Normandy veteran Lord Bramall, 91, said he thought that at his age he could ‘hurt no more’ before police raided his house
Normandy veteran Lord Bramall, whose Alzheimer’s sufferer wife died during the investigation before his name was cleared, told how he had to move her around his home while police scoured the place for ‘evidence’.
One of Beech’s ridiculous claims was that he had been raped and tortured by Field Marshal Lord Bramall and the heads of MI5 and MI6 on Salisbury Plain.
As part of Operation Midland, Lord Bramall’s home was raided by 20 officers and he was interviewed under caution, despite him pointing out to officers there was not a shred of evidence against him.
Lord Bramall’s police interview. He feared he would die before Beech was brought to justice
In court today, Lord Bramall’s statement was read out by his solicitor Drew Pettifer, in which he said Beech hurt him more than he ever had been in his years of distinguished military service.
His statement was made before the trial because he was not sure that he would live long enough to see Beech convicted.
In his statement, Lord Bramall said: ‘Above all what really upset me is this; my record of public service speaks for itself. In service of my Queen and Country I have done all that has been required of me. I have suffered both physically and emotionally as a result and did so without regret or complaint. I thought I could hurt no more.
‘I can honestly say however I was never as badly wounded in all my time in the military as I have been by the allegations made by Nick that formed the basis of Operation Midland.’
He said he was at home with his wife when the Met executed their search warrant on March 4, 2015.
Supportive: Lord Bramall, with his son Nicolas and wife Avril, who had Alzheimer’s
Lord Bramall said: ‘My wife at that time was bed-bound as she suffered Alzheimer’s Disease. When the police first arrived I genuinely had no idea why they were there and welcomed them with the words “How very nice to see you”.’
He added: ‘The police proceeded to search my house resulting in us having to move my wife from room to room in her bed while they searched our home.
‘My wife continually asked me what was going on and what I had done. It was very difficult to explain to her what was going on due to the paucity of the information I had been given.
‘It is important that the court is aware that I live in a very small and quiet village.
‘The Metropolitan Police turning up 20 handed to search someone’s home was bound to attract attention especially when some of those officers went for lunch in the only village pub.
‘Needless to say the fact of the search and the intervention of the police’s own media department meant I was almost immediately the subject of national press speculation.’
Lord Bramall was not well enough to endure appearing at the trial and gave evidence via a link
He wrote: ‘The impact of the allegations was compounded by the Metropolitan Police Service automatically accepting Nick’s totally uncorroborated allegations at their face value and then describing them as “credible and true”.
‘One of the considerable effects of giving such weight to Nick’s allegations was to essentially reverse the burden of proof, encouraging the press and wider public to speculate on my guilt.
‘Nick made these devastating and monstrous allegations against me while protected by a cloak of anonymity.
‘Meanwhile everything about me from my character, my reputation and record of public service was impugned in the court of public opinion.’
He acknowledged that the Metropolitan Police had apologised to him but added: ‘Mud sticks.’
Sir Edward Heath’s grandson said allegations cast a stain on the country and police ‘should be ashamed of themselves’ for giving them credence
Beech made claims that former PM Edward Heath. His Godson hit out in court today
The Godson of former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath says the case has cast a stain on Britain and police should be ‘ashamed of themselves’.
During the bungling police probe, police investigated Beech’s claims claims that ex-Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath abused him on a double bed inside his yacht Morning Cloud.
It was only at the time of the investigation into Beech however that it emerged the narrow racing boat only had room for hammocks and not a double bed.
In his victim impact statement to court today, Sir Edward Heath’s godson Lincoln Seligman said the former Prime Minister ‘was always as he remains, wholly and categorically innocent of these depraved and wicked accusations’.
He said the ‘plainly ridiculous’ allegations against his godfather ‘cast a dreadful stain on this country’.
Mr Seligman condemned the Metropolitan Police, Wiltshire Police and politicians ‘who should be ashamed of themselves’ for giving credence to Beech’s accusations.
He said: ‘It is unlikely this damage will ever be undone.’
Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor breaks down as he describes losing his home and job due to allegations made by someone he had never even met
Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, who was dragged into Operation Midland when Beech falsely named him as an abuser, told court the fantasist had pursued a ‘despicable vendetta’ against him.
Beech claimed that Mr Proctor tried to castrate him with a penknife and murdered another boy called ‘Scott’ in front of him by stabbing him for 40 minutes with a kitchen knife. The claims were totally invented and Mr Proctor had never even met Beech.
The politician said today that the reputational damage done to him had been ‘hugely magnified by the actions of the Metropolitan Police Service’.
He told court that Beech’s lies were ‘intentional and malicious’, and were made without him knowing the defendant personally, saying: ‘He knew that they would cause ordinary people to revile and despise me.’
‘I have never met him and he has no reason to hold any grudge against me, yet he chose to spread vile and false rumours about me.’
Harvey Proctor, pictured outside court today, said the way the police investigated the case increased the damage to the men wrongly accused
Mr Proctor also launched a ferocious attack on the Metropolitan Police.
He said: ‘They embarked upon and investigation which I am told cost the tax payer millions of pounds. They described his ridiculous stories as credible and true.
‘The police were also instrumental in making public that I was twice taken into custody about his allegations and my home searched for evidence.
‘There was no evidence whatsoever against me from Mr Beech’s fanciful stories.’
He said the police’s actions against him were ‘deliberate and malicious’.
Mr Proctor said: ‘There was evidence clearly demonstrated that Mr Beech’s accusations were lies.
‘They were contradicted by his own mother, they were stories that should have been torpedoed by elementary police investigation.’
His voice broke with emotion as he continued: ‘I lost my home, my job, my peace of mind and it led to the necessity that I leave the country where I had spent my entire life.’
He concluded by saying: ‘For Mr Carl Beech I have a feeling of icy contempt.’
The pen knife that Beech claimed a Tory MP threatened to castrate him with. In reality, his grandmother gave it to him
The lurid claims of a fantasist which ruined the lives of innocent men and saw millions of taxpayers’ cash wasted on a blundering police probe
Carl Beech made a series of wild allegations against senior figures to police in 2014 – sparking a £2million police investigation which saw homes raided and lives ruined.
Beech gave police with a list of 12 alleged abusers, including D-Day veteran Lord Bramall, former PM Sir Edward Heath, ex Home Secretary Lord Brittan, former MP Harvey Proctor, Labour peer Lord (Greville) Janner, ex-MI5 boss Sir Michael Hanley and ex-MI6 chief Sir Maurice Oldfield.
Under pressure in the wake of Jimmy Savile scandal, the Met Police then held a press conference where an officer described the allegations as ‘credible and true’.
Beech wiping a wear a tear as he tells police how he saw his friend ‘Scott’ run over and killed by the supposed paedophile ring. Scott never existed
Carl Beech’s lies: He concocted extreme claims that unravelled as the case unfolded
His claim: Ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor tried to castrate me with a pen knife and made me keep the blade.
The truth: The knife belonged to his grandmother and he kept it in a ‘happy memories’ box.
His claim: VIP paedophiles abused me in the Dolphin Square pool.
The truth: He had never been to Dolphin Square and used a Culture Club video to make a totally incorrect sketch of the pool.
His claim: Paedophiles exploited my fear of water.
The truth: He has no fear of water and photos show him swimming throughout his life.
His claim: I have to live with a litany of injuries.
The truth: His body has no evidence of injuries.
His claim: My fellow victim Fred will corroborate my story.
The truth: ‘Fred’s’ email account was created by Beech.
His claim: I was abused by Labour MP at the Carlton Club.
The truth: Only Conservtive MPs can attend the Carlton Club.
His claim: I haven’t googled my abusers.
The truth: His computer showed widespread evidence of research.
The police investigation was later savaged in a report by former judge Sir Richard Henriques, who found 43 key failings in the way the case was handled.
Just six weeks after Lord Brittan’s death in 2015, officers raided his home, even taking the extraordinary step of carrying out a fingertip search of his garden looking for signs of ‘disturbed earth’.
No one was ever charged and it later emerged attention-seeker Beech’s claims were completely invented. An investigation into him later revealed he is himself a paedophile who had vile child abuse images on his computer.
Beech’s claims began in 2012 when he went to Wiltshire police with allegations he was abused by his step-father Major Ray Beech in 1976.
He told them Major Beech took him into Erskine Barracks in Wiltshire where he was abused by disgraced TV star Jimmy Savile and other men he didn’t name.
The Wiltshire investigation found no evidence and was closed in 2013, but Beech still launched a claim for criminal injuries compensation, asking Detective Constable Mark Lewis for a crime number for the claim form. He later got £22,000 with which he bought an expensive Ford Mustang car.
In 2014 Beech went back to the police, this time the Metropolitan Police, and his ‘extraordinary tale’ had become shockingly graphic and turned into a who’s who of the 1970s political and military establishment.
In 20 hours of police interviews, Beech accused the former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath of abusing him on his yacht, Morning Cloud.
He said the former Home Secretary Lord Brittan raped him while holding his head under water in the bath and that Lord Bramall also raped him in barracks, woodland and Imber village on Salisbury Plain where the army conducts live firing training.
Beech said the late army commander Sir Roland Gibbs and General Sir Hugh Beach, now 96, were also part of the same abuse sessions.
His most serious allegations were that he had witnessed the murder of three boys, one of them by Harvey Proctor.
All of the claims were completely invented.
The Met’s ensuing investigation had at least 20 officers working full time for 16 months, took 370 witness statements, launched 1,700 actions and produced 1,860 documents, some of which were hundreds of pages long.
Lord Bramall, who was then 91, had his home in Hampshire searched for 10 hours and was still under investigation when he wife and more than 60 years died.
Lord Brittan’s home was searched and he had not been cleared when he died in 2015.
Harvey Proctor’s home was searched and items taken away by detectives, some of whom were part of a specialist homicide team.
Carl Beech claimed the abuse began when he was at primary school, but he appeared happy in school photos taken at the time
Beech strung police along by saying he had a witness to corroborate his claims, calling him variously Aubrey, Fred and John, and sent detectives emails he’d written himself purporting to be the witness.
With nothing to go on, Operation Midland was dropped after 16 months without anyone being charged.
It was then that Northumbria Police were called in to investigate Beech and unpicked his web of deceit.
Northumbria Police raided the rented three-bedroom house in Gloucester in 2016.
They discovered on the drive a new white Ford Mustang convertible which was bought with the compensation cash he received and they seized several electronic devices.
School records showed Beech was always at the school at the time he said he’d been abused
On going through them they discovered a collection of 342 child abuse images, many of them at the most serious category A level.
There was also a video of a boy using a toilet which Beech had captured by rigging up a secret camera.
He initially denied the images were his, pointing detectives towards his teenage son Oliver and even his mother, Rev Charmian Beech.
He faced trial at Worcester Crown Court for five counts of making indecent images and one of voyeurism but he didn’t turn up ast court last summer, instead fleeing to a remote forest hideaway in northern Sweden, where he bought two cabins.
For eight weeks he fled justice, travelling by train and checking into hotels under assumed names until he was eventually caught at Gothenburg railway station and returned to the UK to face justice.
Harvey Proctor vows to stand against Tom Watson at the next election in revenge for Labour’s deputy backing Carl Beech’s vile lies over VIP paedophile ring
One of the former politicians wrongly accused by a fantasist behind the bogus VIP paedophile claims is set to stand against Labour deputy leader Tom Watson in the next election.
Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, who was falsely accused of murder by Carl Beech, is furious that Watson amplified the false allegations by meeting Beech, making statements in Parliament and writing to police.
After Watson refused to stand down over the scandal, Mr Proctor says he is preparing to take him on at the next election in a bid to rob him of his seat in Parliament.
Tom Watson, pictured earlier this week, is under pressure to resign over his role in amplifying bogus claims made by a fantasist behind the botched VIP peadophile ring investigation
Mr Watson, who has been West Bromwich East MP since 2001, is already the target of anger from some within the Labour party over his perceived undermining of Jeremy Corbyn.
The 72-year-old told The Daily Telegraph: ‘Tom Watson should not be in parliament. He has shown he has no judgment. As a result I am considering standing against himat the next general election and hopefully he will lose his seat.
‘It would be no loss to the Labour Party and a tremendous gain on all fronts.’
Mr Proctor has previously called on Watson to hand his phone logs and email history to the Home Affairs Select Committee to assess his involvement in the VIP sex ring ‘witchhunt’.
Carl Beech’s victims
Edwin Bramall joined the Army in 1943 and stormed the beaches of Normandy as a 2nd Lieutenant. He fought until the end of the war and was awarded a Military Cross. He rose steadily through the ranks and became a general in 1972. From 1979-82 he was Chief of the General staff, head of the Army, and from 1982-85 he was Chief of the Defence Staff, head of Britain’s armed forces.
Sir Michael Hanley
Michael Hanley was the head of MI5 from 1972-1978 after serving in the Army in the Second World War. He died in 2001.
Sir Maurice Oldfield
Maurice Oldfield was the head of MI6 from 1973-1978. He served in Egypt, Singapore and Washington. He died in 1981.
Leon Brittan became a Conservative MP in 1974 and was appointed Margaret Thatcher’s Home Secretary in 1983. He was appointed a commissioner at the EU in 1989 and served until 1999. He was made a Lord in 2000 and was vice chairman of UBS AG investment bank. He died in 2015 under a cloud of suspicion.
Was prime minister from 1970 to 1974, and a Conservative MP from 1950 to 2001. He died aged 87 in 2003.
Harvey Proctor was a Tory MP from 1979-1987. In 1986 a newspaper reported that he had sexual relationships with men under 21, which was then the age of consent for homosexual relationships. He resigned and started a shirt company.
Greville Janner was a Labour MP from 1970 until 1997, when he became a Lord.
He died in 2015 before the investigation into Nick’s claims was dropped
The son of Field Marshall Lord Bramall, who was also smeared by Carl Beech, called for Labour deputy leader Tom Watson to apologis this morning.
Asked about Mr Watson, Nicholas Bramall told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’m not sure how much he was actually involved, particularly with my father’s case. He certainly added fuel to the flames of this whole business.
‘I think any apology would be the right thing to do.’
But he had no contact from Mr Watson’s office, he said.
He was asked if he understood the MP’s motivation considering the climate at the time.
‘It was a sort of different time after Jimmy Savile and I think everybody behaved in a way that everybody had to be seen to be banging the right drum,’ Mr Bramall said.
‘But my angle is really more than towards Tom Watson, more towards the Met really, because they took the word of this man at face value. It’s not their job to say a man is a true and credible witness.
‘Their job is to investigate, and they absolutely failed to do that.’
Speaking outside the court where Beech will be sentenced today, Daniel Janner QC, the son of the late Labour peer Lord Janner, said Watson should ‘hang his head in shame’.
Mr Janner said: ‘Tom Watson is primarily responsible for whipping up a moral panic. So he should hang his head in shame, and he should resign.
‘For him to take the moral high ground in the Labour Party against anti-Semitism is completely hypocritical.’
Watson sparked fresh outrage over his role this week when a member of his team claimed Watson was also ‘a victim’ of Beech.
His spokesman said: ‘He is a victim of Beech. The man is a fraudster and has caused terrible damage. And of course to Tom, definitely.’
Facing mounting criticism this week, Watson has admitted he ‘made a mistake’ in commenting on the case of Lord Brittan – also accused by ‘Nick’ – but stopped short of apologising for his role in spreading Beech’s ludicrous allegations.
After Lord Brittan’s death in 2015, Mr Watson repeated an unsubstantiated quote from a ‘survivor’ that the former peer was ‘as close to evil as a human being could get in my view’. That ‘survivor’ was Beech, Mr Watson confirmed in a statement yesterday.
He apologised again yesterday, saying he was ‘genuinely sorry for the hurt that caused Lady Brittan in particular’.
But, in an interview with the BBC yesterday this week, my best to try and get justice for many victims of child abuse and I’m not going to resile from that.’
Timeline of Beech’s falsehoods and the investigations they launched
2011: Beech downloads a criminal injuries compensation form later found on his PC
2012: Carl Beech gives his first interview, to Wiltshire Police, in which he claims to have been abused by his step-father and Jimmy Savile. The enquiry was classified ‘undetected’ and taken no further.
October 22, 2014: Carl Beech begins to make his accusations to the Met Police in the first of five interviews between October and April. Over more than 20 hours of recorded police interviews, he makes lurid allegations of child rape and murder against senior Establishment figures including Ted Heath and Lord Brammall.
November 2014: Operation Midland launched with a dramatic appeal for witnesses in which Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald describes Beech’s allegations of years of abuse at the hands of VIPs in Westminster as ‘credible and true’.
March 2015: Twenty officers search the home of D-Day hero and former army chief Lord Bramall and his dying wife. The homes of Harvey Proctor, the former Tory MP, and of the late home secretary Leon Brittan are also searched.
April 2015: D-Day veteran and former Army chief Lord Brammal has his home raided by a large team of police officers, and is interviewed.
June 2015: Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, whom Beech accused of child murder, has his home raided by and is interviewed under caution.
August 2015: Harvey Proctor holds a press conference revealing he has been accused of murder, child abuse and torture and denying all allegations. He accuses the Met of running a ‘gay witchhunt’.
September 2015: Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe admits the Met was wrong to describe claims as ‘credible and true’.
October 2015: Kenny McDonald replaced as head of Operation Midland
January 2016: Lord Bramall is told he will face no further action.
February 2016: Hogan-Howe announces an independent inquiry of Midland by Sir Richard Henriques, a retired high court judge.
March 2016: Harvey Proctor is told he will face no further action. Midland is wound up.
June 16, 2016: Beech is charged with five counts of making indecent images and one charge of voyeurism, which involved rigging up a camera to film a boy using a toilet
October 2016: Hogan-Howe apologises to Lord Bramall.
November 2016: The Henriques review concludes Operation Midland was ‘riddled with errors’, that the judge who approved search warrants was wrongly told Beech had been consistent in his testimony, that police seemed to set aside the presumption of innocence and that the reputations of the accused were traduced.
2016: Northumbria Police conclude Beech’s claims are ‘totally unfounded, hopelessly compromised, and irredeemably contradicted by other testimony’.
November 2, 2016: Police arrive to raid Beech’s home in Gloucester.
March 2017: Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse and Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald are cleared of misconduct by an IOPC investigation into Operation Midland following the Henriques review.
September 2017: The Met pays Lord Bramall and Lady Brittan compensation understood to be around £100,000.
January 23, 2018: Beech gets £60,000 as an early pension from the NHS
February 6, 2018: He travels to Calais preparing to flee to Sweden, where he buys a cabin in the woods and lives under a series of assumed identities, travelling hundreds of miles from city to city to stay on the run
May 2018: Harvey Proctor sues Scotland Yard and Beech for £1million.
Beech fled to a remote cabin in wooded northern Sweden (pictured) and lived under several false names as he tried to evade capture
October 1, 2018: He was tracked down by Swedish and British police and arrested in advance of a 20-hour train journey to Gothenburg booked in the name of ‘Samuel Karlsson’.
2018: A highly critical review of Operation Midland reports police ‘acted like they were searching for bodies’ during raids on homes.
December 2018: restriction on reporting of Carl Beech’s real identity lifted.
January 2019: Beech pleads guilty to possessing child pornography, in a separate trial.
May 2019: Beech goes on trial for perverting the course of justice and fraud
July 2019: Beech found guilty of perverting the course of justice and fraud.