Carl Beech, 51, photographed last year
A fantasist caused ‘immeasurable distress’ to some of Britain’s most accomplished political and military figures by making up an ‘extraordinary tale’ of child murder and abuse by a paedophile ring at the heart of Westminster, a court has heard.
At Newcastle Crown Court today Carl Beech, 51, from Gloucester, denied 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud. His accusations, when he was anonymised as ‘Nick’ sparked a £2.5million police investigation.
Opening the case before the jury, Tony Badenoch, QC, told the court: ‘This case concerns the making of false allegations of the most serious kind against senior public figures in Parliament, the Military and the Intelligence Services.’
He went on: ‘These are false allegations including; three child murders, multiple rapes, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and widespread sexual abuse.
‘All concerning young boys. It is quite impossible to conceive of allegations of a worst kind to be made.’
The claims led to raids on the homes of prominent and elderly people including former British Army chief, D-Day veteran Lord Brammall, whose wife of 64 years died during the investigation, before his named was cleared.
Beech claimed in 2014 that he had been raped and abused for nine years by a VIP gang including senior members of Parliament, the military, and the media, during the 1970s.
He said abuse had taken place at the London home, and on the yacht, of former Prime Minister Edward Heath.
The claims made in 20 hours of police interviews caused ‘shattering repercussions’ for men who had held some of the highest offices in the land.
The jury heard that after police suspicion fell on him, Beech fled the country and lived overseas as a fugitive, before before tracked down in Sweden and arrested on a European arrest warrant.
Mr Badenoch told the jury: ‘In 2014, he claimed that he was the victim of much of the abuse and witness to the killing of three boys. It was an extraordinary tale told over around twenty hours of police recording time.
‘In making the allegations he named individuals both living and deceased. He expected the officers to take the allegations seriously, for living persons to be placed before the courts, and for his account to be placed before the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.’
Newcastle Crown Court was given the named of 12 men whose names he tarnished with his allegedly false accusations. Those men were: Major Ray Beech, Carl Beech’s step-father, Lt General Beach, General Gibbs, Lord Brammall, Jimmy Savile, Peter Hayman, Harvey Proctor, Leon Brittan, Greville Janner, Edward Heath, Michael Hanley and Maurice Oldfield.
Mr Badenoch said the 12-week trial would show Beech’s accusations against the men were ‘demonstrably untrue.’
This morning ‘Nick’ – Carl Beech, 51 – arrived at Newcastle Crown Court in a prison van
Lawyers for the prosecution – Tony Badenoch QC, left – and defence – Collingwood Thompson QC, right – arrived at court this morning as the trial got underway
One false story of many
Mr Badenoch detailed one of the allegations made by Beech to the jury.
He said: ‘Mr Beech told the Metropolitan Police that he had witnessed the murder of a young school boy called Scott, murdered at the hands of ‘the group’ of sexual abusers.
‘He had been warned not to be friends with Scott. A warning which he failed to heed leading to his friend Scott being run over and killed in front of him.
‘Carl Beech was saying that when he was a young school-boy he had witnessed the murder of a school-friend who had been deliberately run over and killed – for the crime of being his friend, when the ‘group’ allowed him none.
‘The child was a boy at his own school. It was a secret he had carried throughout his life out of fear of speaking out. Nobody knew about this. Only him. ‘
Mr Badenoch said the Metropolitan Police carried out enquiries and ascertained that Carl Beech was never at school with a missing boy called Scott.
He said: ‘There was no missing boy. Teachers and school-friends from his time at school confirmed that over and over. A complete fabrication and falsehood.
‘It is one example from a very long list.’
He said: ‘In his forties, Carl Beech claimed that when he was a young schoolboy he had witnessed no less than three child killings, and was subjected to rape, torture, and sexual abuse by literally dozens of powerful men, in politics, the armed forces, intelligence services and in showbusiness, at locations ranging four counties, the coast, and all over London.
‘He had been taken out of school once a week for this to occur. That is an extraordinary claim and it is also untrue.’
He said Beech was a complainant of sexual abuse and therefore afforded anonymity. He was given the pseudonym of ‘Nick’ and it was by that name that the allegations came to light in the media.
The allegations by Beech were described by a Metropolitan Police Officer at the time as ‘credible and true’. Mr Badenoch said that when those words were uttered, the officer didn’t have the advantage of the enquiries that followed.
The name of the Operation started based on Beech’s allegations was Operation Midland. It was set up as a major incident room in November 2014 and estimated costs ran to £2m.
Mr Badenoch said:. ‘These false allegations led to police enquiries being made of living men, amongst them Lord Brittan, Lord Bramall and Mr Harvey Proctor. Immeasurable distress was caused to them personally and those close to them, and obvious reputational damage.
‘One man – Lord Brittan – had his homes searched by the police and died with these allegations made by Carl Beech still a live enquiry. Police have since apologised to his widow.
Carl Beech (pictured left and right) pleaded not guilty to 12 charges as he appeared via video link at Newcastle Crown Court in February
‘Lord Bramall was in his nineties when he was spoken to by Metropolitan Police. His home was searched by twenty police personnel for about ten hours. It was on the 15th April 2015 that he attended and spoke voluntarily to the police on tape.
‘He introduced himself as Field Marshall Lord Bramall and answered the police questions. In doing so he expressed his astonishment and amazement at what was being said about him.
‘As best he could, he took the officers through his various army postings at the time. He assisted the police in all respects and told them of his office at Bulford as the Commander in Chief of the Army.
‘He confirmed that he had been married for sixty-four years to his wife who was his only sexual interest. His wife died whilst the file was still open. No further action was, ultimately, taken against him.’
Another, Mr Harvey Proctor, the former Member of Parliament for Billericay in Essex had his properties searched as a consequence of Carl Beech’s allegations.
The barrister explained: ‘Fifteen police personnel spent twenty seven hours doing so. Many months later, in June 2015, he was interviewed under caution for over six hours.
‘At that stage, he was being asked questions about what the person with the pseudonym ‘Nick’ had alleged.
‘He completely denied all that was said about him in the most strident terms. Furthermore, he provided a full account as best he could from his memory from thirty or so years ago in response to these allegations.
The lurid false claims of sexual abuse and torture Beech levelled against politicians and spy chiefs
Beech’s claims against each man were outlined before the jury by Mr Badenoch.
He claimed he was abused first in time by his step-father, Major Ray Beech, whom he last saw in 1976.
Physical abuse was perpetrated together with sexual abuse including oral sex and rape, the first occasion being in a public toilet at a wildlife park. He would be punched regularly which got worse after he and his mother moved into the abuser’s home. On one occasion his arm ended up in plaster cast.
The Lieutenant Colonel previously referred to in the Wiltshire Police interviews was called General Bramall, Lord Edwin Brammall.
He was said to be responsible for repeated rapes of Carl Beech and was present at the first meeting with what he described as ‘the group’.
Present with Lord Edwin Brammall was General Gibbs, Sir Roland Gibbs, and General Beach, Sir Hugh Beach, who was Unrelated to his step-father with a differently spelt surname.
At an army location ‘Imber Village were two further abusers known to Carl Beech as Michael and Maurice
They were later dentified by him to be Michael Hanley the former Head of MI5 and Maurice Oldfield, the former Head of MI6.
These two were responsible for abuse and forms of torture, such as spiders being tipped over him, electric shocks, and having darts thrown at him, culminating in threats ‘to make him disappear.’
The abuse was perpetrated having been collected from school by a ‘driver’ who said little. He would be taken to ‘parties’ where there would be 7-8 boys and 10-15 plus men.
Beech claimed he had a friend who was a boy called ‘Fred’ who had been through it with him.
Beech said ‘Maurice and Michael’ were part of ‘the inner group’, as were three Diplomats who he wasn’t prepared to name.
The venues had included Dolphin Square for pool parties, a big house in London, Military Bases including Imber, St David’s Barracks, Erskine Barracks which at the time was the HQ of the British Land Forces, Edward Heath’s house in Wilton Streetin London and his yacht, Eccleston Square, Ponsonby Terrace, Westminster Gardens, Cambridge Street, the Carlton Club, Elm Guest House, Stowe School, Richmond Park, Heathrow Airport, London Zoo, Queen’s Ice Rink and Brighton.
Mr Badenoch said: Harvey Proctor had demanded oral sex and had inflicted pain on one occasion seeking to use a pen-knife. Others had to stop him from inflicting further pain.
‘Carl Beech had kept the penknife and handed it to this enquiry, together with two epaulets, said to have come from the responsible military officers at a Remembrance Day party.
‘Leon Brittan was a ‘mini-Harvey’ who was also fairly sadistic and enjoyed putting the defendant’s head under water.
‘Harvey and Greville were with him and Edward at the Carlton Club in a separate room. Greville had also abused him.’
Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor was falsely accused of rape and murder in the course of the investigation
‘Those interviews of Mr Proctor will be played in part to you and otherwise summarised. That will enable a proper assessment of the first reaction of the accused child murderer, to examine his response when shown the weapon he is supposed to have given Carl Beech around thirty years ago at the time of threatening to cut his genitals.
‘Since those police enquiries, Mr Proctor has spoken freely and publicly in his defence of these allegations, namely that he is a sadistic child killer and that he committed other serious sexual offences. He convened a press conference and will give evidence in this trial and will answer the false allegations levelled at him by Carl Beech, namely, that he is a sadistic abuser of young boys and a murderer.
‘Mr Proctor was one of the men that Carl Beech wanted before the courts. In his case accused of child homicide and other serious offences.
‘Naturally, as an entirely innocent man of what was said about him, he is still enraged. He is also the only former Member of Parliament accused by ‘Nick’ still alive and is the only person from that group who can speak about these allegations and he will do so.’
The charges relate to claims Beech made that former prime minister Edward Heath (left), ex-home secretary Leon Brittan (right) and others were part of a child abuse ring
He said that others accused by ‘Nick’ were ‘an easy target ‘because they were dead.
Leon Brittan and another accused ,Greville Janner, both died within a year in 2015, the year following these allegations. Carl Beech was notified on 21 March 2016 that no further action was to be taken in respect of the allegations he had made.
Mr Badenoch said: ‘They are without question, the most heinous allegations it is possible to make against someone To accuse a person of being a child murderer, rapist, sadist, torturer and abuser.’
‘Gave false hope’
Beech’s allegations gave false hope to family of a boy who went missing in 1979.
Police told family his vanishing could be linked to the VIP paedophile ring named by Beech, prosecution QC Tony Badenoch told the jury.
Mr Badenoch told the court Beech fled to Sweden after his home in Gloucester was raided by Northumbria Police, an outside force brought in by the Metropolitan Police to investigate Beech himself.
In 2016, the same year that no further action was taken in respect of Operation Midland, Beech who had his life ‘turned upside down’ as he became the suspect.
Northumbria Police examined the recordings of his witness statements to the Met and Wiltshire forces. On November 2nd 2016, a specialist team of police officers attended the home address of Beech, a three bedroom semi where he lived with his son, in the early morning.
His vehicle was parked on the drive, a white Ford Mustang convertible he had bought for £34,035.
Mr Badenoch said: ‘Beech took the only option available to him – he fled the country and lived overseas as a fugitive.
‘That was until a specialist fugitive unit in Sweden worked closely with Northumbria Police and the national crime agency to secure his arrest on a European arrest warrant executed overseas.
‘He was extradited to face these charges.’
Mr Badenoch explained, in one allegation, Beech claimed a warning which he failed to heed led to his friend Scott being run over and killed in front of him. But in fact, Beech was never at school with a missing boy called Scott.
The lawyer said: ‘There was no missing boy. Teachers and school-friends from his time at school confirmed that over and over. A complete fabrication and falsehood. It is one example from a very long list.’
He said the allegations when investigated led to the conclusion that they are in fact ‘incredible and untrue,’ contrary to the statement made earlier by the Met.
The Metropolitan Police’s disastrous Operation Midland investigation into his unsubstantiated and unsupported claims collapsed in 2016 with no arrests, despite a senior detective saying Nick’s stories were ‘credible and true’.
The Met has since paid six-figure sums in compensation to distinguished former Field Marshall Lord Brammall and to Lady Brittan whose late husband Leon was also accused by Beech.
Beech claimed some of the men – including ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor – were involved in the murders of three boys.
The Met is yet to agree any compensation deal with former Tory MP, Harvey Proctor, 70, who was falsely accused of rape and murder and lost his home and his job as a result.
It is thought Mr Proctor, who received a personal apology from the then Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, is seeking more than £500,000 for loss of earnings and damage to his reputation.
The Metropolitan Police launched a major inquiry into Beech’s allegations of child rape and serial murder.
Among those he named were Lord Bramall, a D-Day veteran and former head of the Armed Forces, Lord Brittan, the former Home Secretary and Sir Edward Heath, the late former Prime Minister.
Despite a lack of evidence to support the extraordinary allegations, Scotland Yard launched and 18-month investigation, which cost in excess of £2.5 million.
During the probe, teams of more than 20 officers mounted dawn raids on the homes of some of the suspects, many of them now old and in poor health.
Last year a review of the flawed investigation, conducted by retired High Court judge, Sir Richard Henriques, said the police had acted as if they were ‘looking for bodies or bodies parts’, when carrying out the searches.
Beech is now on trial for seeking to pervert the course of justice and to enrich himself while doing so.
He was known simply as ‘Nick’ before his identity was revealed during his first court appearance in December after a judge lifted a reporting restriction.
The fraud charge alleges that he falsely claimed £22,000 in criminal injuries compensation by saying ‘he was subjected to abuse by a paedophile ring, knowing this to be untrue and intending thereby to make a gain for himself’.
In February sporting a thick greying beard Beech, flanked by his solicitor, spoke only to confirm his identify and to enter his not guilty pleas before the Recorder of Newcastle, Judge Paul Sloan QC via video link.
Charges facing Carl Beech, the man identified for years only as ‘Nick’
Beech, then known only as ‘Nick’, was charged in November of last year at Newcastle Crown Court, with perverting the course of justice and fraud.
Charges against him allege that he:
‘Nick’, 50, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court accused of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud (stock image)
- Made a false allegation of witnessing the child homicide of an unnamed boy committed by Harvey Proctor
- Made a false allegation of witnessing the child homicide of a boy called Scott
- Made a false allegation of witnessing the child homicide of another unnamed boy
- Falsely alleged that he had been sexually and physically abused by a paedophile ring, with senior ranking officers within the military, military intelligence, a TV presenter and other unidentified men accused as members
- Falsely alleged that he had been sexually and physically abused by a paedophile ring, with politicians, a TV presenter, and other unidentified men accused as members
- Provided a list of sexual abusers and locations falsely alleging that he had been subjected to physical and sexual abuse by the said sexual abusers at the said locations
- Provided sketches of locations at which he claimed he had been physically and sexually abused, falsely claiming that he had produced them from memory
- Provided and repeated the name of Aubrey, falsely alleging that Aubrey had been present and subjected to physical and sexual abuse when with him
- Provided a pen knife and two military epaulettes falsely alleging that he had retained them from when he was abused as a child
- Falsely claimed that he had suffered serious injuries as a result of having been sexually and physically abused as a child
- Falsified a ‘Proton’ email account, and provided false information purportedly sent from ‘Fred’, an individual who he had named as present when he was abused by a paedophile ring
- Went together with investigators on site visits and falsely alleged that it was at locations identified by him during those visits that he had been subjected to physical and sexual abuse by a paedophile ring
The fraud charge stated that he falsely claimed £22,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority by saying ‘he was subjected to abuse by a paedophile ring, knowing this to be untrue and intending thereby to make a gain for himself’