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District judge agrees he was ‘misled’ by Met into granting search warrants

Howard Riddle said he would never have granted the warrants had he been given all the information.

Howard Riddle agreed he had been ‘misled’ by police (Max Nash/PA)
Howard Riddle agreed he had been ‘misled’ by police (Max Nash/PA)

By PA Reporters

The district judge who issued the search warrants for the homes of three public figures during Operation Midland has agreed with the findings of a report that concluded he was “misled” by Met Police officers.

Howard Riddle said he agreed with the findings in Sir Richard Henriques’ review that said had he been given all the information, he would never have granted the warrants.

The warrants were issued in February 2015 and led to dawn raids on the homes of Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and Harvey Proctor following allegations made by fantasist Carl Beech.

Beech claimed he and other boys were raped and tortured in the 1970s and 1980s and that one young boy was even murdered by members of a VIP paedophile ring.

He is now serving an 18-year prison sentence for 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud.

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Carl Beech was jailed for 18 years (CPS/PA)

Sir Richard’s report, published in its unredacted form on Friday, found the detectives had misled Mr Riddle and should be investigated for perverting the course of justice.

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Riddle, who retired from the bench in 2016, supported Sir Richard’s findings, adding that officers had also skirted standard disclosure proceedings during the process.

He wrote: “Sir Richard concludes that I was correct in granting the warrants having regard to the information put before me.

“However, he identifies a number of undermining factors that should have been drawn to my attention, but were not.

“Had they been, the report states, ‘it is inconceivable…that any application for a warrant would have been granted’.

“The conclusion is that the search warrants were obtained unlawfully.

“It is obvious to me that Sir Richard has considered all the evidence put before him with great care. I have complete confidence in his report and its conclusions.”

Mr Riddle said officers had also avoided disclosing any “undermining factors” – writing only “N/A” in that section.

He wrote: “In an investigation such as Operation Midland, it is right to expect that undermining factors would be recorded in a log or similar document from the beginning of the investigation and available to the officer making the search warrant application, and to the court.”

Sir Richard was called in after 16-month Operation Midland ended in 2016 without a single arrest.

PA

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