Liar who made up VIP Westminster paedophile ring jailed for 18 years

A fantasist whose repeated lies 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 (pictured) 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 force has come under widespread criticism for the investigation, which closed in 2016 without making a single arrest and was described by Mr Proctor as a “truly disgraceful chapter in the history of British policing”.

Among Beech’s allegations were claims that his step-father, an Army major, raped him and passed him on to generals to be tortured and sadistically abused at military bases by other establishment figures.

Those he named as supposed “abusers” included former prime minister Sir Edward Heath, late Labour MP Greville Janner, disgraced TV star Jimmy Savile, and security chiefs Sir Michael Hanley and Sir Maurice Oldfield, who were the heads of MI5 and MI6 respectively.

Jurors at Newcastle Crown Court saw through the lies of the school governor and NSPCC volunteer, and found him guilty of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud.

He was jailed for 18 years on Friday when he was sentenced for those offences, as well as charges of voyeurism and possession of indecent images which he had previously admitted.

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC had previously explained to the jury how Beech had showed “breathtaking hypocrisy” in accusing others of sex offences against children while he himself demonstrated an interest in pre-teen boys.

Over the course of the trial, which spanned more than two months, jurors heard how Beech spun officers lie after lie.

He claimed that the gang of men, who he referred to as “The Group”, had run over and killed a boy named Scott in front of him – but prosecutors said that the child described had in fact never existed.

The fraudster gave false hope to the family of Martin Allen, who went missing in 1979 at the age of 15, by saying that he had seen a youngster matching his description raped and strangled in front of him.

After Operation Midland was closed, Beech fled to Sweden at a time when the Crown Prosecution Service were considering whether to bring charges against him, buying two properties there and trying to evade justice by using false identities.

He was extradited back to the UK to face charges in October last year.

His lies were at one stage wrongly described as “credible and true” by a senior detective.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House said that officers in the case had worked in good faith, and that an “internal debrief” would take place following Beech’s conviction to identify whether lessons could be learned.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has been criticised for meeting with Beech in 2014, but the politician said he had simply told him the allegations would be taken seriously, saying in a statement: “It was not my role to judge whether victims’ stories were true.”

Carl Beech’s victims reveal impact of his lies

The lies of Carl Beech meant that former Conservative MP Lord Brittan was “denied the dignified death that he deserved”, his widow has said.

In a statement that was read during the sentencing of the 51-year-old fantasist on Friday, Diana Brittan said her husband had to deal with terminal illness while facing “a series of false allegations and smears of the very worst kind”.

Lord Brittan was one of many to be falsely accused by Beech, a former nurse, of being part of a murderous Westminster VIP paedophile ring.

During a sentencing hearing resulting from a jury convicting him of lying to police about his claims, the divorced father-of-one watched on as prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC read the widow’s victim-impact statement.

It read: “I feel he was caught up in a totally unjustified witchhunt which took its toll on both him and me.

“He was denied the dignified death that he deserved.

“His name has now been cleared but he will never know this.”

The Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland investigation into Beech’s lies has attracted widespread attention, especially following a senior detective’s remarks that the claims were “credible and true”.

Lord Brittan’s wife said: “The system has let him and my family down.”

Meanwhile, Field Marshal Lord Bramall, a D-Day veteran, said: “I was never as badly wounded in all my time in the military as I was by the allegations made by ‘Nick’.”

The statement was written months prior to the start of the trial as the 95-year-old – who was 91 at the time when Beech made allegations against him – feared he would not live to see the proceedings.

It was read in court by his solicitor Drew Pettifer, and described the horror of having his home searched by officers as his seriously-ill wife lay in bed, as well as the pain of seeing her die without his name being cleared.

Another to be falsely accused by Beech was former prime minister Sir Edward Heath, and a statement from his godson, Lincoln Seligman, was also read in court.

It said that the late Conservative MP “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 also condemned the Metropolitan 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.”

Lord Janner, a late Labour MP, was another to be accused by Beech.

His son, Daniel Janner QC, appeared in the witness stand during the sentencing on Friday to say: “It is impossible to get over the hurt which such ghastly alleged acts of violence have on a law abiding family like mine.

“They are corrosive. They lie on the internet with ignorant people saying that there is no smoke without fire.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Crown Prosecution Service / PA Wire.