A former children’s nurse and NSPCC volunteer has been convicted of making up a lurid story of a murderous paedophile ring operating at the highest levels of society.
A jury took just four-and-a-half hours to convict Carl Beech of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud.
The 51-year-old divorced father from Gloucester will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday for these offences, as well as indecent images charges and bail offences for absconding to Sweden.
Beech’s malicious, repeated and determined deceit ruined the reputations of those he accused and led the Metropolitan Police to raid the homes of 91-year-old Normandy veteran Field Marshal Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.
Mr Proctor condemned the force, calling the episode “a truly disgraceful chapter in the history of British policing”.
But Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, who met Beech in 2014, declined Mr Proctor’s call to apologise, saying it was up to the police to investigate allegations, while acknowledging the ex-MP was “hurt and angry”.
The BBC, which reported Beech’s claims in 2014 then exposed him in a Panorama documentary, expressed “utmost sympathy” to his victims.
Met Police Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House said: “It must be remembered also that the work of Operation Midland was carried out against a backdrop of intense scrutiny and allegations that in the past the Met had covered up sensitive allegations about prominent people.”
The £2 million Midland probe into the lurid allegations by the man they named only as “Nick” ended without making a single arrest.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) police watchdog has cleared three detectives following an investigation into whether a district judge was misled when the force applied for warrants to search the homes of Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan and Mr Proctor.
Beech had told detectives over hours of tearful interviews that his late stepfather, an Army major, raped him, then passed him on to generals to be tortured at military bases and sadistically sexually abused by other establishment figures in the 1970s and 1980s.
He named former prime minister Sir Edward Heath, his sworn enemy Mr Proctor, disgraced TV star Jimmy Savile and security chiefs Sir Michael Hanley, the head of MI5, and MI6 boss Sir Maurice Oldfield among the supposed gang after meeting a journalist from the news agency Exaro.
He claimed a schoolboy named Scott was deliberately knocked down and killed, that another boy who might have been the missing teenager Martin Allen was raped and strangled in front of him, and said another youth was battered to death by the ring.
A senior detective wrongly called the allegations “credible and true” before the force had completed its inquiries.
The jury rejected Beech’s unfounded allegations and convicted him of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud, relating to a £22,000 criminal injuries payout he falsely claimed for being raped by Savile.
The jurors were unconvinced by his claims that Army generals, at the height of the IRA terror threat, could sneak off unguarded to join horrific child abuse sessions.
They saw a videoed police interview with Lord Bramall where the war hero, now too ill to give evidence, thumped the table in front of him and denied having any sexual interest in children.
Another falsely accused general, 96-year-old Sir Hugh Beach, told the jury via video link that the allegations against him were “beyond grotesque”.
Beech had also said the head of MI5 – presumably also busy dealing with terrorists – arrived at his school to tell him his dog had been kidnapped as a warning.
He claimed that he was there when the ring shot his horse Sam, although he had no idea what happened to the body, or what his mother thought, who was paying for its stabling.
With what Tony Badenoch QC, prosecuting, described as “breathtaking hypocrisy”, Beech himself was a paedophile with an interest in pre-teen boys.
The school governor and NSPCC volunteer was due to be tried on indecent images and voyeurism charges last summer but went on the run to Sweden, where he bought two remote properties and tried to evade justice using false identities.
Beech did not visibly react when the 13 guilty verdicts were returned.
After the trial, Mr Proctor said he was still to settle a claim against the Metropolitan Police, saying their raid cost him his home and the job he loved, working for the Duke and Duchess of Rutland.