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  1. ITV Report

Operation Midland: What was the controversial police investigation?

ITV News' Paul Davies reports

A fiercely-criticised police investigation into historical claims of a VIP paedophile ring has been closed by Scotland Yard.

ITV News takes a closer look at the 16-month investigation.

What were the allegations?

The allegations - which spanned between 1975 and 1984 - were made by a single person known as "Nick".

It is understood he went into a police station in November 2014 claiming he had been abused for almost a decade by a powerful ring of politicians, establishment and military figures.

He also claimed that three young boys had been murdered by members of the ring.

Who was investigated?

The investigation did not lead to a single arrest, but high-profile homes were raided and VIPs questioned.

Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor. Credit: PA
  • Harvey Proctor: The former Tory MP furiously denied any involvement and was interviewed under caution twice and had his home searched but has now been told he will face no further action. Mr Proctor gave an extraordinary press conference in August 2015 where he said he is the victim of a "homosexual witch hunt". He laid out graphic details of claims made against him and revealed former prime minister Sir Edward Heath and ex-home secretary Leon Brittan had been named among his "alleged co-conspirators".
Lord Bramall Credit: PA
  • Lord Bramall: The home of the 92-year-old D-Day veteran - whose wife was in the last stages of dementia - was raided. Bramall was head of the British army when the alleged abuse took place. He was told in January 2016 he faces no further action over historical abuse allegations after officers concluded there is "insufficient evidence". Scotland Yard came in for fierce criticism and faced a chorus of calls to apologise to the 92-year-old. A few days later Scotland Yard issued a lengthy statement saying it regrets the distress to him and his late wife during the investigation. However, the force stopped short of offering an apology.

Categorically, never have I had a connection or anything to do with the matters being investigated.

– Bramall told the BBC
Lord Brittan Credit: PA
  • Lord Brittan: His home was also searched. Brittan died of cancer in January 2015 aged 75 and had been interviewed over a separate rape allegation. He died not knowing that police had concluded he had no case to answer four months earlier.
Edward Heath Credit: PA
  • Edward Heath: The late former prime minister was also named in connection with the inquiry.

Why was the operation criticised?

Superintendent Kenny McDonald, the officer in charge of Operation Midland, made a statement just a month after the investigation had opened.

Nick has been spoken to by experienced officers from the child abuse team and from the murder investigation team and they and I believe what Nick is saying is credible and true.

– Kenny McDonald

He was accused of prejudging the investigation. The Met later withdrew the assertion that the claims were true, but defended the investigation.

The force also came under criticism for the long periods of police bail for those under investigation and the way the investigation was conducted.

How much did it cost?

£1.8m
The cost up to November 2015

It did not lead to a single arrest.

Why was it closed?

The announcement came after former Tory MP Harvey Proctor - the last person to be investigated by Operation Midland - was told he will face no further action over allegations which he consistently denied.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse, the senior officer in charge of Operation Midland said: "It is absolutely right that we assessed carefully the allegations made to us".

Mr Proctor today called for a string of police bosses to resign.

I believe Operation Midland should now be the subject of a truly independent public inquiry. I consider that Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, (Assistant Commissioner) Pat Gallan, (Deputy Assistant Commissioner) Steve Rodhouse and (Detective Superintendent) Kenny MacDonald should tender their resignations from the Metropolitan Police Service forthwith.

– Mr Proctor