Scotland Yard was warned by the QC leading the Government’s child sex abuse inquiry that the fantasist ‘Nick’ was “bogus” months before officers shut down the investigation, the Daily Telegraph can reveal.
Ben Emmerson QC, interviewed Carl Beech in 2015 and told senior police officers not to believe his claims that he had been raped and tortured as a child by a string of high profile politicians and public figures.
He even provided legal advice to the investigative team as to how they might expose his lies, but his suggestion was ignored and detectives continued to plough on with the £2.5 million probe.
On Friday, the Met will publish Sir Richard Henriques’s review of Operation Midland, in which he lambasts the Force for failing to heed Mr Emmerson’s advice and shut down Operation Midland at an earlier stage.
In a damning indictment on what has become one of the most shameful episodes in Scotland Yard’s recent history, the retired High Court Judge will say it should have been clear to the officers from the outset that Beech’s allegations were “fabricated, incredible and untrue”.
The long awaited report into the VIP child abuse scandal will identify 43 separate mistakes made by bungling Scotland Yard detectives, who spent 18 months trying to prove Beech aka Nick had been the victim of extraordinary abuse at the hands of some of the country’s most prominent figures.
Among the criticisms are:
:: The decision to describe Beech’s wild allegations as “credible and true”.
:: The failure to check if his story had been consistent throughout.
:: The failure to interview key witnesses in a timely manner.
:: The misleading of a district judge in order to obtain search warrants to raid the homes of Lord Brittan, Lord Bramall and Harvey Proctor.
None of the officers involved in the disastrous inquiry have been formally admonished for their role, with all having been cleared by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
But Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, will today ask Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out a further investigation into the Met’s handling of the case.
Beech, who was jailed for 18-years in July after being convicted of perverting the course of justice and fraud, told police he had been raped and tortured by a group of powerful public figures, some of whom had even murdered youngsters during warped sex games.
Among those he accused were Sir Edward Heath, the former Prime Minister, Lord Brittan, the former Home Secretary, Lord Bramall, the former head of the army and Harvey Proctor, the former MP.
Despite glaring inconsistencies in his story, the Met took 18 months before eventually closing the investigation.
But Mr Emmerson, who spent two years as lead counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), said the investigation could have been closed down much sooner had they listened to him.
He told the Telegraph: “I was extremely sceptical about the allegations made by Carl Beech from the very outset. This was because the allegations seemed to me to be inherently implausible.
“They had a ring of outlandish fabrication about them. I was concerned to try and understand why the Metropolitan Police had publicly described them as “credible” when they appeared at face value to be so obviously bogus.”
He said he told police the allegations were “implausible” and suggested there were grounds to suspect him of perverting the course of justice.
Mr Emmerson said he advised the police to examine Beech’s computers to check if he had, as he claimed, been in touch with a corroborating witness called “Fred”.
“I strongly suspected at the time that “Fred” was another invention of Carl Beech’s, and I conveyed this view to the investigating team.
“I suggested that there were sufficient grounds to enable the investigating team to obtain authorisation to search Beech’s computers and communications data.
“This would establish conclusively whether or not “Fred” was a real person. The Operation Midland officers told me that they had received legal advice to the effect that since Beech was being treated as a credible complainant, he could not be treated as a suspect.
“If such a search had been carried out at the time, it is very likely that Beech’s story would have been exposed as fabrication much earlier than it was.”
Sir Richard’s report will declare that the legal advice on which the police relied was wrong and should have been ignored.