- Video report by ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers
A former NSPCC volunteer who lied about being abused by a murderous VIP Westminster paedophile ring is facing a lengthy jail sentence after he was convicted of perverting the course of justice and fraud.
Carl Beech’s malicious, repeated and determined deceit ruined the reputations of those he accused and led the Metropolitan Police to raid the homes of 91-year-old Normandy veteran Field Marshall Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.
Mr Proctor blasted the force, calling the episode “a truly disgraceful chapter in the history of British policing”.
Their £2 million Operation Midland into the lurid allegations by the man they named only as “Nick” ended without making a single arrest.
- ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner explains the implications of Beech's lies
Mr Proctor demanded the Met apologise to the taxpayer for funding the investigation despite resources in short supply.
"The Metropolitan Police should apologise to the taxpayer for squandering millions of pounds," he said, before accusing the force of "malice, incompetence and negligence".
He also accused Labour's Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who met Beech in 2014 to discuss the allegations, of giving oxygen to the claims - though Mr Watson has said it was not his role to judge of he was telling the truth.
Beech told detectives over hours of tearful interviews how his late step-father, an Army Major, raped him, then passed him on to generals to be tortured at military bases and sadistically sexually abused by other Establishment figures in the 1970s and 1980s.
He named former prime minister Sir Edward Heath, his sworn enemy Mr Proctor, disgraced TV star Jimmy Savile and security chiefs Sir Michael Hanley, the head of MI5, and MI6 boss Sir Maurice Oldfield among the gang after meeting a journalist from the defunct news agency Exaro.
He claimed a schoolboy named Scott was deliberately knocked down and killed, that another boy who might have been the missing teenager Martin Allen was raped and strangled in front of him and said another youth was battered to death by the ring.
A senior detective wrongly called the allegations “credible and true” before the force had completed their inquiries.
A jury at Newcastle Crown Court rejected Beech’s unfounded allegations and on Monday convicted him of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud, relating to a £22,000 criminal injuries payout he falsely claimed for being raped by Savile.
The jury were unconvinced by his claims that Army generals, at the height of the IRA terror threat, could sneak off unguarded to join horrific child abuse sessions.
They saw a videoed police interview with Lord Bramall where the war hero, now too ill to give evidence, thumped the table in front of him and denied having any sexual interest in children.
Another falsely accused general, 96-year-old Sir Hugh Beach, told the jury via videolink that the allegations against him were “beyond grotesque”.
Beech had also said the head of MI5 – presumably also busy dealing with terrorists – arrived at his school to tell him his dog had been kidnapped as a warning.
He claimed that he was there when the ring shot his horse Sam, although he had no idea what happened to the body, or what his mother thought, who was paying for its stabling.
With what Tony Badenoch QC, prosecuting, described as “breath-taking hypocrisy”, Beech himself was a paedophile with an interest in pre-teen boys.
The school governor and NSPCC volunteer was due to be tried on indecent images and voyeurism charges last summer but went on the run to Sweden, where he bought two remote properties and tried to evade justice using false identities.
After the trial, Mr Proctor said he was still to settle a claim against the Metropolitan Police, saying their raid cost his home and the job he loved, working for the Duke and Duchess of Rutland.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has cleared three Metropolitan Police detectives following an investigation into how the force applied for three search warrants in the case of Beech.
The watchdog looked into how warrants were granted by a district judge to raid the homes of Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and Harvey Proctor.
Following an investigation, IOPC Interim Director General Jonathan Green said: "The allegations Nick made were grave and warranted investigation and we believe those involved in applying for the search warrant acted with due diligence and in good faith at the time."
Deputy Commissioner for the Met Sir Stephen House said: "Whilst the Met is clear that our organisation did not get everything right, the IPCC stated in March 2017 that it had found no evidence to indicate bad faith, malice or dishonesty on the part of our officers as they investigated the allegations made by Carl Beech. The IPCC also stated that the information available to them indicated the investigation was extensive and carried out diligently."
There will nonetheless be an internal debrief following Carl Beech’s trial to identify any additional lessons, he told reporters, adding the officers involved "worked in good faith"
In a statement to journalists, he said: "It must be remembered that the work of Operation Midland was carried out against a backdrop of intense scrutiny and allegations that in the past the Met had covered up sensitive allegations about prominent people."