Harvey Proctor leads calls for Met police chiefs to face justice after report into sex abuse probe

Harvey Proctor has led calls for Met police chiefs to face justice after a report laid bare the scale of the failures of Scotland Yard’s investigation into a non-existent Westminster paedophile ring. 

Richard Henriques’s review revealed allegations of police misconduct, poor leadership, misleading public statements and lack of empathy for those falsely accused in the £2.5 million investigation – prompting demands for a criminal inquiry.

The review concluded the search warrants were ‘obtained unlawfully’ and that the magistrate who granted them was ‘misled’.

In a comment for The Times Harvey Proctor, 72, said: ‘I continue to call for an outside police force to be called in to investigate. To my mind this should be Northumbria, which exposed the lies the Met police failed to spot.’ 

Harvey Proctor (pictured) has led calls for Met police chiefs to face justice after a report laid bare the scale of the failures of Scotland Yard's investigation into a non-existent Westminster paedophile ring

Harvey Proctor (pictured) has led calls for Met police chiefs to face justice after a report laid bare the scale of the failures of Scotland Yard's investigation into a non-existent Westminster paedophile ring

Harvey Proctor (pictured) has led calls for Met police chiefs to face justice after a report laid bare the scale of the failures of Scotland Yard’s investigation into a non-existent Westminster paedophile ring

A cabinet minister also told the newspaper that the police failings ‘should not be left to lie’.

They said: ‘Knowingly misleading the courts is extremely serious and of huge gravity. There needs to be a full and frank investigation into this, which could lead to a criminal inquiry into whether the course of justice has been perverted by the police.’ 

Mr Proctor said said that a further review ordered by Priti Patel was only the ‘first step’. 

He added that Northumbria Police which secured Beech’s convictions was ideally placed to take on the case.  

More findings of the highly critical review of Operation Midland, which has to date cost the Metropolitan Police around £4.5million, were published by the force today after mounting pressure to be open and transparent.

Steve Rodhouse, who oversaw the operation, apologised. He has since been promoted to a senior role at the National Crime Agency, often dubbed Britain's FBI

Steve Rodhouse, who oversaw the operation, apologised. He has since been promoted to a senior role at the National Crime Agency, often dubbed Britain's FBI

Steve Rodhouse, who oversaw the operation, apologised. He has since been promoted to a senior role at the National Crime Agency, often dubbed Britain’s FBI

Carl Beech's easily-disproved lies were swallowed by police who have spent £4.5m on their bungled investigation and subsequent payouts

Carl Beech's easily-disproved lies were swallowed by police who have spent £4.5m on their bungled investigation and subsequent payouts

Carl Beech’s easily-disproved lies were swallowed by police who have spent £4.5m on their bungled investigation and subsequent payouts

Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (pictured), who oversaw the early stages of Operation Midland, has previously rejected demands for a new investigation into the officers involved

Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (pictured), who oversaw the early stages of Operation Midland, has previously rejected demands for a new investigation into the officers involved

Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (pictured), who oversaw the early stages of Operation Midland, has previously rejected demands for a new investigation into the officers involved

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson was found to have added to the pressure on investigating officers, who were ‘fearful of media criticism and public cynicism,’ according to the report.

Among a string of recommendations for the force, Sir Richard said suspects should have their anonymity protected by law, victims should be asked to sign confidentiality agreements in cases involving ‘prominent people’ and the policy that a complainant’s account ‘must be believed’ should end. 

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson denied putting pressure on police

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson denied putting pressure on police

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson denied putting pressure on police

The police complaints watchdog will explain next week why it has already exonerated five officers of misconduct. 

In an interview with LBC Harvey Proctor today spoke about his ongoing battle with PTSD after ‘Nick’ the fantasist told police the former Tory MP was a member of a VIP pedophile ring. 

This evening Mr Proctor said he only feels ‘icy contempt’ for Carl Beech because it was the Metropolitan Police who gave rise to his lies.  

Mr Proctor also told Andrew Pierce he is ‘saving’ his ‘fire power for the metropolitan police’. 

The homes of Mr Proctor, D-Day veteran Lord Bramall and Lady Diana Brittan, the widow of former home secretary Leon Brittan, were raided on the basis of false claims made by fantasist Carl Beech, then known as ‘Nick’. 

Tearful ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor opens up about his battle with PTSD over ‘Nick the fantasist’ claims and blasts ‘donkey’ police chiefs after damning report reveals Scotland Yard’s shocking failures in £4.5m probe

Harvey Proctor today spoke about his ongoing battle with PTSD after ‘Nick’ the fantasist told police the former Tory MP was a member of a VIP pedophile ring. 

The 72-year-old revealed he is still under ‘substantial emotional stress’ from a ‘matter that has been going on for years’ – after Carl Beech claimed he was directly involved in two murders and multiple counts of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s.

Tearful Mr Proctor’s voice broke as he said he ‘will be thinking about these matters on the day I die’ and he repeatedly apologised for being emotional.

‘I tried to keep strong but sometimes I do get emotional – I’m sorry if I do,’ he told LBC.   

Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor (pictured on ITV's Good Morning Britain in July) said he had lost 'my job, my home, my repute' following claims that he was involved in sexual abuse

Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor (pictured on ITV's Good Morning Britain in July) said he had lost 'my job, my home, my repute' following claims that he was involved in sexual abuse

Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor (pictured on ITV’s Good Morning Britain in July) said he had lost ‘my job, my home, my repute’ following claims that he was involved in sexual abuse

He ‘would not wish my worst enemy to go through what I, my family and my friends have gone through’ and called the ordeal ‘horrendous’ as he struggled for words. 

It comes after a damning 400-page analysis by retired high court judge Sir Richard Henriques identified dozens of implausible claims which police failed to check.

The Henriques report insisted police missed countless opportunities to close the case down. And this evening Mr Proctor told Andrew Pierce he is ‘saving’ his ‘fire power for the metropolitan police’.

‘I have to keep strong because if I dwell too much on detail I dissemble. I keep strong to try to make sure no other person suffers at the hand of the met police from false accusers,’ he added.

‘No one should go through what I went through these last few years.’ 

Earlier today he criticised Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Cressida Dick for ‘weasel words of apology’ after claims he was a member of a Westminster paedophile ring left him facing death threats. 

And this evening Mr Proctor said he only feels ‘icy contempt’ for Carl Beech because it was the Metropolitan Police who gave rise to his lies.  

‘In my impact statement at the conclusion of his trial I referred to ‘Nick’ with icy contempt. That is what I feel. Icy contempt,’ he told LBC. 

Sir Richard criticised the Met’s culture of believing victims and today Sir Steve House (pictured) said the force had ‘re-explained’ its policy to detectives

‘If Carl Beech wanted to spread his fantasies on social media do you think I would give a damn. It was when police who said he was credible and true and that was when the damage was done to me.’

As the hour-long interview came to a close he blasted police chiefs, calling them ‘donkeys’ who should not be leading the ‘brave and courageous bobby on the beat’.

‘When I was an MP I was supportive of the police force. I am now supportive in this way,’ he added.

‘I think bobby on the beat is brave and courageous. They do not deserve to be led by donkeys.’ 

Earlier today he told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One he lost ‘my job, my home, my repute’ following false claims that he was involved in the sexual abuse.

He admitted he was ‘not the same person I used to be’ as a damning report released today laid bare Scotland Yard’s shocking failures when investigating the case. 

He said: ‘I’m trying to get over it, but it’s proving very difficult. I have said before that I’m not the same person I used to be.

‘I don’t think I’ll ever be that person again. I’ve lost my job, my home, my repute. I’ve been the subject of death threats.

‘Weasel words by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Cressida Dick by way of apology, but nothing to put me back to where I was in March 2015 when I’d spent 30 years building myself up to that position, after an earlier difficulty.

‘I don’t have another 30 years to re-do that.’

The homes of Mr Proctor, D-Day veteran Lord Bramall and Lady Diana Brittan, the widow of former home secretary Leon Brittan, were raided on the basis of false claims made by fantasist Carl Beech, then known as ‘Nick’.

Then-force chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has made a series of extraordinary apologies over the disastrous investigation, that has to date cost the force around £4.5 million.

This includes payouts to the Brittan family and Lord Bramall. Mr Proctor is suing the Met for £1million and a settlement has yet to be reached.

Sir Alan Duncan, Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton, said today: ‘The damming Henriques report against the Met Police should not be used to delay the payment of massive compensation to my constituent Harvey Proctor.

‘They must agree to settle his financial claim and pay up now. The police are supposed to be there to address injustice but here they have themselves created it. They must compensate my constituent Harvey Proctor.’

It came as Scotland Yard was accused of ‘institutional stupidity’ in its disastrous investigation into claims of the VIP paedophile ring in Westminster as the report blamed ‘poor judgment and a failure to accurately evaluate known facts’.

The report concluded search warrants were ‘obtained unlawfully’ and that the magistrate who granted them was ‘misled’. 

Today Scotland Yard said it was ‘deeply, deeply sorry’ for mistakes made in the bungled Operation Midland investigation and the detective in charge has apologised but said he acted with the best of intentions.

Downing Street said it was ‘vital’ the public was reassured the Met had learned lessons, while Labour deputy leader Tom Watson failed to apologise despite the report concluding his interest put pressure on police.

Carl Beech – known as ‘Nick’ – was jailed for 18 years for perverting the course after making up preposterous tales, dubbed ‘credible and true’ by the Met, that ruined the lives and reputations of some of Britain’s most distinguished public servants. 

Carl Beech lied to police

Carl Beech lied to police

Carl Beech lied to police

Carl Beech lied to police

 Lies told by Carl Beech, pictured left in a police interview, were believed by the Met Police despite previously Wiltshire Police having concluded: ‘it all sounds a bit ‘Spooks’

His easily-disproved lies were swallowed by bungling Scotland Yard detectives who launched a taxpayer-funded ‘witchhunt’, Operation Midland, that resulted in Thatcher’s Home Secretary Lord Brittan dying under a cloud of suspicion and an ex-Tory MP losing his job and home. 

The Met has faced howls of criticism after it emerged that none of the five officers referred to the IOPC for their involvement in the case faced any censure.

In a series of damning findings – first published by the Mail after exclusive interviews with Sir Richard – his report concluded that search warrants for the homes of men Beech accused were ‘obtained unlawfully’ and that the magistrate who granted them was ‘misled’.

‘The written applications stated that ‘Nick’s’ account had remained consistent and he is felt to be a credible witness who is telling the truth,’ it said.

”Nick’s’ account had not been consistent throughout. Further, there were, in my judgment no reasonable grounds to believe ‘Nick’ and the statement that he had told the truth was not consistent with information then available.’

The report said: ‘Whilst the responsible officers assert that they kept an open mind, several failures can only be explained by an unwarranted and disproportionate belief in ‘Nick’s’ credibility.

‘The most significant error in this investigation was the decision to apply for search warrants coupled with formulating inaccurate statements which were placed before the district judge.

‘But for that decision, this investigation may well have been completed without the dreadful adverse consequences I have described.’

The full report released today 43 ‘principal police failings’. Among them Sir Richard found that the Metropolitan Police:

  • Believed Beech from the outset while Wiltshire police had found his claims ‘all a bit odd’ and said ‘it all sounds a bit ‘Spooks’ ‘
  • Were months late in interviewing Beech’s ex-wife and his mother, both of who testimonies contradicted his claims
  • Carried out searches poorly: property was seized which was authorised by the warrant, the North Yorkshire search was conducted ‘as if looking for bodies or body parts’, property was not returned properly, and police contributed to the loss of anonymity of the accused
  • Asked a psychologist to examine Beech, but did not provide his police interviews or blogs
  • Did not ask to inspect Beech’s computer because of the policy that ‘victims must be believed’
  • Failed to check Beech’s computer when he provided emails, allegedly from a corroborating witness, which were copied-and-pasted to obscure the sender
  • Should have terminated the investigation in December 2015 on advice from CPS
  • Should have dropped the investigation into Harvey Proctor in January 2016 when they dropped the case relating to Lord Bramall – because if Beech was unreliable in relation to one alleged abuser he was unreliable in relation to the other   

Today Met Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House said: ‘I am deeply, deeply sorry for the mistakes that were made and the ongoing pain these have caused.

‘I promise we will do all we can to prevent them in the future.’

He also said: ‘The Met is determined to learn lessons from Sir Richard’s review to improve our response to similar situations in the future’, and added: ‘Mistakes were made in Operation Midland and we have apologised for those. We apologise for them again today.’

But, he added: ‘However, we do not agree with everything Sir Richard wrote in his report or indeed all of his recent statements regarding further investigations into the actions of officers.’

He insisted the IOPC had cleared officers of misconduct saying: ‘That should be where this ends for those individuals.’ 

The report blamed the force’s policy of believing victims as a core failing underlying the investigation.

Today the deputy commissioner told reporters outside New Scotland Yard: ‘We’ve re-explained to officers’ the force’s position on belief.’

He added: ‘We explained we expect them to deal with all victims sensitively, to record their allegation accurately, but then to carry out an investigative function which would include gaining corroboration for the allegation themselves.’ 

Steve Rodhouse, who oversaw the operation, said: ‘I am sincerely sorry for the distress that has been caused to innocent people and their families as a consequence of Operation Midland and Operation Vincente.’

But, he added: ‘My actions have been considered by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) who will shortly publish their detailed reasons for concluding that there was no misconduct by me.

‘I understand the criticisms that have been made of my decisions during these investigations but I acted with the best of intentions throughout and I hope that I have demonstrated the transparency, honesty and integrity which have always been vital to me.’ 

One source who read a pre-released copy of the report said Mr Rodhouse’s new £240,000-a-year job at the National Crime Agency is ‘untenable’ and that he must step down or be removed from his post immediately. 

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson today denied putting pressure on police despite the report finding his interest did in fact do so. 

The report quoted an article from 2015 revealing how Mr Watson spoke to two people including Beech who claimed he was abused by former home secretary Leon Brittan and had been attacked more than a dozen times as a boy. 

The report said: ‘There can be no doubt that Tom Watson believed ‘Nick’ and it should be stated that he had previously provided the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) with information leading to convictions in other cases.

‘His interest, however, in both Operation Midland and Operation Vincente created further pressure upon MPS officers.’

In a statement Mr Watson said: ‘The report doesn’t make clear the key point that Lord Brittan was interviewed by the police before they received my letter.

‘Ex-director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders publicly confirmed that my letter was not received by police until after the interview.

‘It therefore cannot be argued that it was pressure from me that led to Lord Brittan being interviewed.

‘I have always said that it wasn’t my place to judge whether sexual abuse allegations were true or false – that was for the police.’ 

Daniel Janner, the son of the late Labour MP Lord Janner who was one of Beech’s victims, accused Mr Watson of being ‘partially responsible’.

He claimed Mr Watson – who raised the matter in Parliament after speaking to Beech – ‘applied pressure on the police and should hang his head in shame and resign’. 

And Lord Brittan’s widow told The Times: ‘The extent of Tom Watson’s involvement in the witch-hunt of innocent people has been laid bare for all to see. 

‘His subsequent attempts to distance himself show a complete lack of integrity.

‘By misusing his public office to recklessly repeat false allegations, and to characterise himself as a victim, he has shown that he is unfit to hold the office of MP.’   

After the report’s release today, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve House was asked about Mr Watson’s role in pressuring police.

He said: ‘I won’t refer direct to Tom Watson, I think you’re going to have to speak to him more about that.

‘But I think it’s quite clear, at the time there was a significant amount of pressure on a lot of different public bodies in relation to not taking seriously, allegations around this sort of assault. 

A heavily redacted summary of a report by retired high court judge Sir Richard Henriques – which identified 43 major blunders in Operation Midland – was released three years ago after the inquiry was closed without any arrests or charges.

Then-force chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe made a series of extraordinary apologies over the disastrous investigation, that has to date cost the force around £4.5 million. This includes payouts to the Brittan family and Lord Bramall. Mr Proctor is suing the Met for £1 million and a settlement has yet to be reached. 

Yesterday the Mail revealed that Home Secretary Priti Patel has told the Inspectorate of Constabulary, the police watchdog, to review the force’s actions as well.

 Among its principal conclusions the report finds:

  • ‘The principal cause of the many failures in this investigation was poor judgement and a failure to accurately evaluate known facts’
  • A ‘major contributing factor was the culture that ‘victims’ must be believed’ 
  • The ‘most significant error’ was the application for search warrants coupled with formulating inaccurate statements which were placed before the district judge. But for that decision, Sir Richard found, ‘this investigation may well have been completed without the dreadful adverse consequences I have described.’ 

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