Carl Beech: Former nurse convicted of lying about VIP paedophile ring

22 July 2019, 14:36 | Updated: 22 July 2019, 22:46

A former NHS manager has been convicted of lying to police and fooling Scotland Yard into launching a £2.5m investigation into a VIP paedophile ring that didn’t exist.

Carl Beech, 51, claimed he and others were tortured, raped and abused by senior politicians, military chiefs and the heads of MI5 and MI6 - and had witnessed the sadistic murder of three young boys.

He has been found guilty of fraud and 12 counts of perverting the course of justice.

During a nine-week trial, Beech denied his story was '"a figment of my imagination" and told jurors: "I was there, I know it happened."

He even persuaded the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to pay him £22,000 for his "years of abuse".

His allegations prompted detectives to raid the homes of Field Marshall Lord Bramall, once head of the army, the former home secretary Leon Brittan, who has since died, and ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

In a police interview shown to the jury, an angry Lord Bramall banged the table and told a detective: "Torture? Torture? You're suggesting that a very, very senior army officer with an impeccable record engaged in torture of children?"

In one allegation, Beech described Mr Proctor threatening to castrate him and being stopped from doing so by the late prime minister Sir Edward Heath.

He also told jurors Mr Proctor raped, stabbed and strangled a boy and helped beat to death another in front of him.

In the witness box, Mr Proctor described Beech's claims as "the ravings of a fantasist".

He is now suing the Metropolitan police for £1m compensation over the way he was treated.

Mr Proctor said after the verdicts: "In these precious last years of my life, I know I can never regain what has been taken from me through Mr Beech's mendacious activities and the consequent rogue, malicious and apparently homophobic Metropolitan Police service's investigation."

Mr Proctor also condemned Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson, accusing him of backing Beech's claims and putting pressure on then home secretary Theresa May and Met Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to take the claims seriously.

In response, Mr Watson said: "Harvey Proctor makes an understandably emotional attack today.

"I appreciate that he is hurt and angry but in justifying his attack he has disingenuously used a selective quotation from an interview I did with Decca Aitkenhead.

"What I actually said in that interview was: 'What I'm certain of is that he's not delusional. He is either telling the truth, or he's made up a meticulous and elaborate story. It's not for me to judge.'"

One of the politicians Beech named as an abuser was Lord Janner, the former Labour MP Greville Janner, who died during the police investigation.

His lawyer son Daniel Janner QC said: "We reacted with horror and we are still horrified.

"But there has to be accountability and those police officers must now face charges for misfeasance in public office.

"It was patently clear that this man was evil, manipulative and lying and had they done their job in the least bit properly they would have known it and that's why we are calling out for these officers responsible to be investigated and prosecuted."

Beech was an inspector with health regulator the Care Quality Commission and the governor of two schools when he made the allegations of murder and abuse, which he said happened when he was a schoolboy in the 1970s and 80s.

Wiltshire Police investigated first and dismissed his claims for lack of any corroborating evidence.

But the Met took up his case, with senior officer Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald describing his witness statements as "credible and true".

A later inquiry by Sir Richard Henriques condemned the force for its investigation, Operation Midland, which he said should have been concluded much sooner than it was.

The retired High Court judge said there were 43 failings, including detectives using flawed information to persuade a judge to authorise search warrants.

When the Met scrapped Operation Midland it asked another force - Northumbria - to investigate Beech for perverting the course of justice.

The new investigation exposed Beech, a divorcee and father of a young son, as a paedophile when detectives found indecent child images on his computer.

He was charged, but before his trial he fled to Sweden where he bought a remote home and travelled around the country using a false name.

After being tracked down and extradited, within a year he pleaded guilty to the sex charges.

Beech pleaded not guilty to 12 charges of perverting the cause of justice and one of fraud by falsely claiming criminal injuries compensation.

His false claims were part of a waive of sex abuse allegations that followed the revelation that police forces had failed to properly investigate prolific sex abuser Jimmy Savile while he was alive.

He was exposed only after he died in 2011.

Police forces were inundated with accusations of historical abuse by celebrities. Some were convicted, but in other cases investigations were abandoned when police found no evidence.

Three years after Savile died, police adopted a national policy of presuming that anyone making allegations of child sex abuse should be believed. Beech named Savile as one of his regular abusers.

Sir Richard Henriques said in his report on Operation Midland: "Since a complainant may or may not be telling the truth, the present policy causes those not telling the truth to be artificially believed and, thus, liars and fantasists and those genuinely mistaken are given fire run both unquestioned and unchallenged."

Mike Hames, former head of Scotland Yard's paedophile squad, said: "It's probably the biggest mistake that any murder investigation team has ever made.

"There was an assumption at the beginning that what the man was saying was true and that is not how the police operate.

"If somebody reports a crime you say thank you very much and then you interview them some more to find out more detail, but you never say 'I believe you'."