VIP abuse claims trial shown video of ex-army chief thumping desk in denial
The jury in the trial of a man accused of inventing a Westminster VIP paedophile ring was shown a video of the former head of the British Army thumping the desk as he told detectives he had no sexual interest in children and later demanded the police clear his reputation.
Carl Beech, 51, from Gloucester, named Field Marshal Lord Edwin Bramall, 95, among the high-profile, sadistic abusers he claimed had abused him from the age of eight at locations across the south of England.
Newcastle Crown Court was played a recording of the Normandy veteran’s interview in Aldershot Police Station, in April 2015, seven weeks after his home had been raided by the Metropolitan Police.
The video showed the former commander-in-chief bang on the table in front of him as he denied ever being involved in child abuse.
Lord Bramall (pictured) told Detective Constable Gavin Sealey: “I am absolutely astonished, amazed and bemused.
“I find it incredible that anybody should believe that someone of my career standing, integrity, should be capable of any of these things, including things like torture – unbelievable.”
Beech told police his stepfather Major Ray Beech had sexually abused him, then taken him to Lord Bramall’s office in Erskine Barracks, Wiltshire, when he was in charge of the UK Land Forces, in about 1976.
Beech then claimed Lord Bramall undressed him and sexually molested him, which the peer told detectives was “absolute rubbish” and “complete nonsense”.
Lord Bramall scoffed when it was put to him that General Sir Roland Gibbs and General Hugh Beach were also involved.
“This is ridiculous,” he told the detective. “They have taken in the whole damned Army.”
Lord Bramall said he had never heard of Major Ray Beech.
He banged on the table in front of him as he responded to an allegation that he had raped the boy, saying: “How anyone could think me capable of doing these things…
“I have never had sex with anyone of my own sex.
“I certainly never had an inclination of being paedophile.
“I have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren – I love children and any allegation is absolutely outrageous.”
Speaking about his accuser, he told the detective: “You are an experienced officer, you must have got a feel if someone is not telling the truth.”
Lord Bramall was told the allegations by “Nick” included that sadistic abuse had happened at Imber – a derelict village on Salisbury Plain used by the Army for training.
Lord Bramall said: “I have never seen boys tied together and I have certainly never tortured them.”
When asked if he knew Jimmy Savile – said by Beech to be another member of the gang – Lord Bramall laughed out loud.
He said: “I watched him on the television and thought he was one of the most odious people I have ever seen in my life. I never met him.”
Of the other men Beech named, he said he had only seen Leon Brittan in the House of Lords, and not spoken to him, and he did not know ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor, whom he thought had been in Labour.
He knew Sir Maurice Oldfield, head of MI6, and praised his reputation in intelligence, but did not know Sir Michael Hanley, who led MI5.
At one point in the interview, he commented: “People make allegations about others later in life to see what they can gain from it.”
Beech alleged some abuse happened at “pool parties” and Lord Bramall was asked if he could swim. He said he could, adding: “I landed at Normandy and I jolly nearly had to swim.”
In a follow-up interview in July 2015, after his wife had died, Lord Bramall said: “Because it is really awful someone in my position has had the damage done, mainly by what has gone to press and on the webnet, I hope you can report to your superiors and say there’s clearly no case to answer and make it absolutely clear I am no longer a suspect and I have been taken out of the investigation.
“Otherwise my reputation is still being damaged on Google, and that’s not fair, after my record, at my time of life.
“I have had a very painful experience to go through, at 91, and having just lost my wife.”
He also complained that officers had sought to search his home on uncorroborated evidence.
Mr Justice Goss told the jury Lord Bramall, now 95 and in “very poor health”, would not be coming to court in person and was “unwilling to give any further evidence”.
Collingwood Thompson QC, defending, told the jury he would have asked a series of specific questions on Beech’s behalf, including suggesting to Lord Bramall he was a “leading member of a paedophile ring”.
Beech denies 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud.
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) CPS / PA Wire.