Police were given permission to raid the home of Britain’s greatest living soldier, Field Marshal Lord Bramall
The secret court document seen by the Daily Mail – which blows open the ‘Nick’ search warrants scandal – was part of a two-stage process which gave police permission to raid the home of Britain’s greatest living soldier, Field Marshal Lord Bramall.
The first involved a detective completing a confidential form and the second involved three murder squad officers going before court to get official permission to storm his house.
The document sets out the astonishing nature of the claims and reveals that police even sought to rely on an independent consultant to back up their star witness’s allegations.
It also shows that when asked if there was anything that might undermine their request for a search warrant, the Met simply answered N/A – not applicable. In fact, police were aware of several factors that raised questions about the claims made by Nick, real name Carl Beech.
Before detectives could raid the home of the former head of the Armed Forces, now 95, in March 2015, an officer had to complete a standard ‘Application for Search Warrant’ form (Criminal Procedure Rules, rule 6.30: section 8, Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984). The document includes nine sections which need to be filled out by police, and a final one – to be signed by the presiding judge – granting them authority to execute the warrant.
Police had to answer a series of questions about the offence(s) under investigation, background details of the case and why officers believed crimes had been committed, the material being sought by police and the premises officers were seeking to search.
Critically the officer signing the warrant – in this case Detective Sergeant Eric Sword – was asked under section eight (‘duty of disclosure’) whether there is ‘anything of which you are aware that might reasonably be considered capable of undermining any of the grounds of this application, or which for some other reason might affect the court’s decision?’.
It adds: ‘Include anything that reasonably might call into question the credibility of the information you have received and explain why you have decided that that information still can be relied upon.’
Persuaded: Officers told district judge Howard Riddle (pictured) that the 51-year-old former nurse was a ‘consistent’ and ‘credible’ witness
This is a crucial section because judges are warned that they must exercise their power ‘with great care and caution’ and must not allow police to engage in ‘a fishing expedition’.
In this box, the Met said ‘N/A’ and Mr Sword, now retired from the force, signed a declaration in section nine saying that ‘to the best of my knowledge and belief’ … ‘the content of this application is true’.
After filling in the form on February 27, 2015, detectives went before Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London on March 2, 2015 to answer questions about the search warrant application.
District judge Howard Riddle ruled that the search of Lord Bramall’s home could go ahead after hearing that the ‘victim’ (Carl Beech) was ‘consistent’ and ‘credible’ and that a Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner had ‘considered’ the application. Two days later on March 4, 2015, police raided Lord Bramall’s home in Surrey as raids took place at homes of the recently deceased Lord Brittan, and former MP Harvey Proctor.
At the top of the search warrant application the Met says of Beech: ‘His account has remained consistent and he is felt to be a credible witness who is telling the truth.’
Approving the request to raid Lord Bramall’s home, Judge Riddle said: ‘I am satisfied that the police are fully aware of the sensitivities and the need for a proportionate approach. This has been considered at DAC level.’
Here we set out the key passages of the application by the Met to search Lord Bramall’s home – and, alongside them, the devastating evidence that undermines the police claims