THE deranged fantasist whose lies wrecked the lives and reputations of a host of political and military luminaries was jailed for 18 years yesterday.
Paedophile Carl Beech hoodwinked senior police officers into launching a £2million probe into his “hideous and repugnant” fantasies about a murderous VIP child sex gang operating inWestminster. Many of his victims were seriously ill and his fabrications devastated their reputations and caused their shell-shocked families incalculable pain. Beech, 51, known as “Nick” during investigations, showed no emotion yesterday as Mr Justice James Goss described him as an “intelligent, resourceful, manipulative and devious” liar who “accused living persons of the highest integrity and decency of vile acts”.
The judge told Beech he had been encouraged by the police’s willingness to believe him, adding: “You acted out of financial gain, personal pleasure, malice and attention seeking. You have shown no remorse.”
Beech was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by inventing an abuse ring he called “The Group”, which he said involved former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, former Home Secretary Lord Brittan, former Army chief Lord Bramall and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, among others.
The court heard a series of heartbreaking statements from Beech’s victims and their families, with the wife of Leon Brittan giving a devastating account of the impact of the blundering police investigation which followed the lies.
Lady Brittan said the “entirely false allegations and smears of the very worst kind” ruined the final weeks of her husband’s life.
The Metropolitan Police, who described former NHS quality inspector Beech’s claims as “credible and true”, were also criticised. Five junior-ranking officers were probed by the police watchdog following the collapse of Operation Midland. They were all cleared. No officer has been disciplined.
Last night, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson refused calls to apologise, despite his vocal support for “Nick” when the allegations emerged.
In one staggering intervention, Mr Watson branded the thenrecently deceased former Conservative Home Secretary Leon Brittan “as close to evil as any human could get”.
Beech’s own barrister, who defended him through a 10-week trial, accepted the core of his allegations were “somewhat incredible”.
Nicholas Bramall, son of Field Marshal Lord Bramall, said Mr Watson had added “fuel to the flames” and said: “An apology would be the right thing to do.”
Prosecutor Tony Badenoch, QC, opened the sentencing hearing at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday by saying: “This defendant’s conduct involved the cynical manipulation of the criminal justice system on an unprecedented scale with an unparalleled cruelty and for others. He alleged the murder of three children, torture and gang rape of young boys.” He added: “Carl Beech derived sexual pleasure from his conduct. He enjoyed the celebrity that these invented offences afforded him. He sought to benefit from these offences financially.”
Beech was also convicted of fraudulently claiming £22,000 in criminal injuries compensation, while he admitted amassing a collection of child abuse images, voyeurism and fleeing bail by running away to a remote hideaway in Sweden.
Elderly military generals and former politicians had their homes raided and their lives turned upside down when the Metropolitan Police took Beech’s “extraordinary tale” at face value. Beech’s claims began in 2012 when he went to Wiltshire police with allegations he was abused by his step-father Major Ray Beech in 1976.
He told them Major Beech took him into Erskine Barracks, in Wiltshire, where he was abused by men he didn’t name, alongside disgraced TV and radio star Jimmy Savile.
The Wiltshire investigation found no evidence and was closed in 2013. But Beech still launched a successful claim for criminal injuries compensation.
In 2014, Beech went to the Met where his “extraordinary tale” had turned into a Who’s Who of the 1970s political and military estabdisregard lishment. In 20 hours of interviews, Beech accused former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath of abusing him on his yacht, said former Home Secretary Lord Brittan raped him while holding his head under water in the bath and that Lord Bramall also raped him in barracks, woodland and at Imber village on Salisbury Plain.
He added lateArmy commander Sir Roland Gibbs and General Sir Hugh Beach, now 96, were also involved.
His most serious allegations were that he had witnessed the murder of three boys, one of them by Harvey Proctor.
Beech claimed he was with a boy called Scott who was mown down in a hit and run by the abusers. He further claimed that another boy was stabbed, raped and strangled to death by Mr Proctor in a London townhouse and that the third was beaten to death by Mr Proctor and others at another London address.
The Metropolitan Police described his claims as “credible and true” and launched Operation Midland, with 20 officers working full-time for 16 months.
Lord Bramall, who was then 91, had his home in Hampshire searched for 10 hours and was still under investigation when his dementia-stricken wife of over 60 years died.
Operation Midland was eventually dropped without anyone being charged.
Lady Brittan’s torment over ‘smears of very worst kind’
The widow of former home secretary Leon Brittan gave a devastating account of the impact the blundering police investigation had on the couple’s lives.
Diana, Lady Brittan, said the “entirely false allegations and smears of the very worst kind” ruined the final weeks of her husband’s life.
“My husband was alone in hospital terminally ill with cancer when the allegations were first made public and then, when the BBC interviewed “Nick” and made the story headline news, it went global.
“To lose someone that you love is bad enough but in these circumstances, it was truly terrible. I felt he was caught up in a totally unjustified witch hunt which took its toll on both of us.”
‘Lies inflicted deeper wound than battlefield’
Normandy veteran Lord Bramall, 95, said Beech’s lies and the Metropolitan Police response hurt him more than anything he endured in his military career.
He said: “I thought I could hurt no more. I can honestly say, however, I was never as badly wounded in all my time in the military as I have been by the allegations made by Nick that formed the basis of Operation Midland.”
He said the impact was compounded by police describing the “totally uncorroborated” allegations as “credible and true”.
He said Nick was “protected by a cloak of anonymity”, while “everything about me, from my character, my reputation and record of public service, was impugned in the court of public opinion”.
The peer acknowledged that the Met had apologised to him, but said: “Mud sticks.”
‘Sickening destruction’ of ex-PM
Sir Edward Heath’s godson said Beech’s conviction proved the ex-prime minister “was always as he remains, wholly and categorically innocent of these depraved and wicked accusations”.
Lincoln Seligman, 69, said Sir Edward’s family “have had to witness the slow and sickening destruction of the name of a man who was not alive to defend himself”.
The “plainly ridiculous” claims against his godfather “cast a dreadful stain on this country”, he said, adding that the Metropolitan and Wiltshire police forces and politicians “should be ashamed of themselves” for giving credence to Beech’s accusations.
Mr Seligman added: “It is unlikely this damage will ever be undone.”
Sir Edward became Conservative Party leader in 1965 and prime minister in 1970. He lost the 1974 general election and was replaced as Tory leader by Margaret Thatcher.
Former MP: ‘I was spat at and jeered’
Harvey Proctor branded Beech’s stories “fanciful” and was ferocious in his condemnation of the police.
The former Tory MP said: “It is plain and obvious to anybody who examines his fanciful stories that they are beyond any possibility of belief.
“Yet despite this police embarked upon an investigation which I am told cost the taxpayer millions of pounds.
“The police were also instrumental in making public that I was twice taken into custody about his allegations and my home searched.
“There was no evidence whatsoever against me from Mr Beech’s fanciful stories.”
Mr Proctor added: “I gave up attendance in any public place after numerous occasions when I suffered being spat at, jeered, shouted down as a paedophile, or murderer.
“I fled to a remote part of Spain and became dependent on the generosity of friends.”
‘False allegations stick like mud’
The son of former Labour MP Greville Janner said reading the allegations about his late father made him feel “physically sick”.
Daniel Janner, QC, said: “False allegations such as this stick like mud.They are vile. They leave a stain which is hard to remove.
“We have had to fight the injustice of false allegations of Nick and others daily.
“It is an all-encompassing battle which is vital for the sake of our children, my grandchildren and justice generally. Public figures are vulnerable to attack, yet the effect of sexual false allegations is to wipe out their good name and work.
“Beech maintained that my father raped him in the Carlton Club. It is impossible to describe the hurt that these allegations have had.
“We loved our late father.
He never harmed anybody in his whole life and he died an innocent man.
“He was a force for good and justice so we fight back, and will not stop.”