'Nick' who sparked VIP paedophile ring probe 'said MP Tom Watson knew of his "extraordinary" claims

Carl Beech, 51, alleged powerful men including MPs and generals sexually abused and killed children in the 1970s

Carl Beech, 51, alleged powerful men including MPs and generals sexually abused and killed children in the 1970s

The man on trial for falsely claiming high-ranking paedophiles abused him and others in the 1970s told police he was tortured by Jimmy Savile and the heads of MI5 and MI6.

Carl Beech, 51, told the Metropolitan Police in 2014 he had sharp objects jabbed into his feet and they were burned with a lighter, had his head held underwater and was given electric shocks. 

Under the pseudonym ‘Nick’, he also made heinous accusations of sexual abuse and child murder against prominent men including former PM Ted Heath and former Army chief Lord Brammall. 

He even claimed that Labour MP Tom Watson was part of a ‘little group’ of politicians and journalists who was aware of the abuse and was prepared to help him reveal the bogus allegations.

In a recorded interview with Detective Sergeant John Townly, Beech said the gang were ‘sadistic’.

He said: ‘They were trying to find new ways to inflict pain, terror, fear. Some of them liked to see me and others in pain.’

He said ‘Michael and Maurice’ – who the jury has previously been told were Michael Hanley, the former head of MI5 and Maurice Oldfield, former MI6 chief, would ‘instigate things’.

‘They would tell the others what to do, but they wouldn’t do it themselves,’ he said. ‘Jimmy Savile was nasty, but I only met him a couple of times.’ 

An 18-month, £2million Met Police investigation into the men was wound up with no arrests.

A separate investigation by Northumbria Police then quickly unravelled Beech’s allegations, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

The court heard how Beech met Labour MP Tom Watson, a retired social worker who wanted to help the police called Peter McKelvie and freelance journalist Mark Conrad in the months before he came forward with his allegations 

He said: ‘Peter McKelvie and Tom Watson also formed part of a little group that was supporting me and put my information out there to encourage other people to come forward, hence the piece they did on Dolphin Square.’

Beech said he met Mr Watson and spoke to him at length in his office.

Court sketch of Carl Beech, 51, from Gloucester, known as Nick, at Newcastle Crown Court

Court sketch of Carl Beech, 51, from Gloucester, known as Nick, at Newcastle Crown Court

He said the experience of dealing with Mr Conrad was positive, but also ‘incredibly frustrating’, as the reporter was aware he could not share certain information with Beech, the court heard.

Today the jury was told Beech, 51, named Mr Watson in an email following his first ‘informal’ meeting with a Met detective. 

In an email, Beech told a detective: ‘Another person knows and I said I would check if they are happy to give over their names and he said they are. It is Peter McElvie, he probably knows the same as Tom Watson.’

Detective Sergeant James Townly explained to the jury: ‘Peter McElvie was a retired social worker who wanted to help the police, he was aware of the wider investigation involving allegations at Westminster.’

He was asked by prosecutor Tony Badenoch, QC, ‘Did you know who Tom Watson was?’

He answered: ‘I understood Tom Watson was the MP for the Labour party.’

The court also heard the first meeting between Beech and the police at a police station in Gloucester was also attended by Mark Conrad, a freelance journalist with an investigative website called Exaro. 

He also said an investigative journalist had shown him a series of 42 pictures of potential paedophiles which helped him ‘fill in the blanks’ in his memory before he went to the police.

Mark Conrad of Exaro showed him the pictures before publishing stories about abuse alleged to have taken plane in the exclusive Dolphin Square apartments near Westminster.

After the story came to light Beech went for a lengthy meeting with Watson in his office, the jury heard.

Beech told Detective Sergeant James Townly that Watson and retired social worker Peter McElvie were part of the same small group who had helped him.

In the interview read out to Newcastle Crown Court, Beech told the officer: ‘Peter McElvie and Tom Watson formed part of the little group supporting me and putting my information out there to encourage other people to come forward – hence the piece they did on Dolphin Square.’

After the story first broke Carl Beech met with Labour deputy leader Tom Watson MP

After the story first broke Carl Beech met with Labour deputy leader Tom Watson MP

He went on: ‘I went to meet Tom Watson in his office and talked to him at some length when they put that bit out there.

‘It was been a positive experience for me on the one hand and on the other it has been incredibly frustrating.’

Beech went on to say that Mark Conrad had shown him a selection of 42 pictures in a dossier – some of which were shown to the jury. They included pictures of the high profile military and political figures he accused, as well as others he did not, such as Liberal Democrat MP Cyril Smith. 

Beech said he was shown the photographs in 2014 after first meeting Mr Conrad.

He said he looked through a ‘whole bunch’ of photographs, adding: ‘Some of them I knew the last names of, some I knew the first names of, the other names mark found out.

‘I picked them out, I just didn’t know their first or surnames in some cases. Some I knew what they did so that made a difference.’ 

Beech said that the list of names and allegations had been ‘put together over the last four to five months.’

Carl Beech aged 10

Carl Beech aged 10

The jury were shown pictures of Carl Beech aged around 10 in his final year of primary school when he claimed the abuse began

The officer investigating his initial claims appeared unconcerned that Beech had been working closely with Mr Conrad in the months leading up to the disclosures made to the Met.

In the interview, Det Sgt Townly said to Beech, about Mark Conrad: ‘It is good he has integrity.

‘This is the first step. Journalists have to protect their integrity. Mark is only too aware of the damage journalists can do to cases, it is quite lucky someone like Mark is aware of that.’

Theresa May, then Home Secretary, announced a wide-ranging sex abuse enquiry in July 2014 which she said would encompass allegations about Westminster.

Beech said that when that was announced he had felt a surge in confidence.

He told Det Sgt Townly: ‘When she announced that it was like ‘wow this is going to be something.’ We can feed information about this, that and the other, to have this to give evidence to, possibly with others and not on my own and give names.

‘My confidence in that had gone down but my confidence in myself has gone up.’

Asked why he wasn’t killed like other supposed victims, he said:  They liked me. But having said that, later on that was a saving grace. 

‘I think that stopped some worse things happening, because I was a favourite.

‘I don’t think I would be here today if I wasn’t, certainly one person would have done something, but he was prevented… he was stopped because I was a favourite, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be here today.’ 

Field Marshall Lord Brammall, pictured with his wife of 64 years Dorothy, who died before his name was cleared

Field Marshall Lord Brammall, pictured with his wife of 64 years Dorothy, who died before his name was cleared

It also emerged that a shadowy memory of a Lieutenant Colonel which Beech described in his first interviews with Wiltshire Police in 2012 had become a recollection of former army chief, D-Day veteran General Lord Bramall when he gave his testimony to the Met in 2014.

When he first spoke to Detective Sgt Mark Lewis of Wiltshire Police, Beech told how his step-father Major Raymond Beech had taken him to an unknown army barracks to be abused by a Lieutenant Colonel whose name his did not know.

Two years later his disclosure had become more specific.

He told Detective Sergeant James Townly of the Met that the assault in which he was stripped and intimately touched took place at Erskine barracks in Wiltshire.

He said: ‘I was introduced by Ray to General Bramall and that was my first introduction to what I later came to know as ‘The Group.’

He claimed Lord Bramall, now aged 95, took off his shirt and touched him after removing his shirt and pulling down his trousers and underwear.

Beech continued: ‘Ray came back into the room, he and Bramall talked.

‘I didn’t hear what they were talking about but I knew Bramall kept looking at me . He was quite miserable, he was a miserable man but Ray was happy with me, he was smiling.

‘I didn’t know what a general was, I didn’t know what it meant but i knew Ray had to salute him which made him feel important.’ 

Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor was accused of rape and murder by Beech. The court heard he is still 'enraged' by the accusations

Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor was accused of rape and murder by Beech. The court heard he is still ‘enraged’ by the accusations

As prosecutors laid out their claims against Beech when the trial opened, the court was told that:

  • Beech is a convicted paedophile who pleaded guilty after police found indecent  images of young boys, including some recorded by Beech, on devices in his home
  • He fled to Sweden once police closed in and lived in a remote cabin in the woods, shown in police footage above, under a series of assumed identities and false names
  • He claimed to have sketched the locations at which abuse took place from memory – but his laptop showed he had googled them before speaking to police
  • He claimed not to have researched the men he accused – but had googled them
  • He claimed his abusers mowed down and killed a boy, ‘Scott’, whom he tried to befriend – but the boy did not exist. He was shown in police footage telling officers about this fictitious incident 
  • He claimed a fellow victim, ‘Fred’ could corroborate his story – but in fact he made up the friend and posed as ‘Fred’, fabricating emails to police
  • He claimed he had been regularly taken out of school to be abused by multiple men at ‘parties’ – but his attendance at his schools was exemplary
  • He claimed he had a lifelong fear of water, abused by the men, who dunked him and threw him off boats – but photos show him snorkelling on honeymoon
  • He produced an ‘abuse map’ of the places and ways his body was tortured – but his medical records show no evidence of abuse
  • He claimed he was abused on beds in cabins on Ted Heath’s yacht – but the vessel was a racing yacht and only had hammocks
  • He claimed Mp Harvey Proctor had threatened to cut his genitals off with a pen-knife Proctor later gifted to Beech. He gave the knife to police asking for forensic tests – but his estranged wife told police he’d kept it in a ‘happy memories’ box 
  • He had googled how victims of Jimmy Savile received compensation
  • He bought a £64,000 convertible Mustang with the compensation payout he received for the alleged abuse
  • He was indebted and living grossly beyond his means, intending to make money on the international speaking circuit, speaking about his ‘abuse’
Edward Heath

Leon Brittan

The charges relate to claims Beech made that former prime minister Edward Heath (left), ex-home secretary Leon Brittan (right) and others were part of a child abuse ring

Timeline of Beech’s alleged falsehoods and the investigations they launched

2014/2015: Over more than 20 hours of recorded police interviews, Carl Beech makes lurid allegations of child rape and murder against senior Establishment figures including Ted Heath and Lord Brammall.

November 2014: The Met Police launch Operation Midland, which raids the homes of several elderly men looking for evidence to support Beech’s claims. A detective calls the accusations ‘credible and true’.

April 2015: D-Day veteran and former Army chief Lord Brammal interviewed.

June 2015: Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, whom Beech accused of child murder, interviewed under caution.

March 2016:  Beech notified no further action was to be taken in respect of the allegations he had made.

2016: Northumbria Police conclude Beech’s claims are ‘totally unfounded, hopelessly compromised, and irredeemably contradicted by other testimony’.

November 2, 2016: Police arrive to raid Beech’s home in Gloucester. 

January 23, 2018: Beech got £60,000 as an early pension from the NHS

February 6, 2018: He travels to Calais preparing to flee to Sweden, where he buys a cabin in the woods and lives under a series of assumed identities, travelling hundreds of miles from city to city to stay on the run

October 1, 2018: He was tracked down by Swedish and British police and arrested in advance of a 20-hour train journey to Gothenburg booked in the name of ‘Samuel Karlsson’.

2018: A highly critical review of Operation Midland reports police ‘acted like they were searching for bodies’ during raids on homes. 

2018: Beech pleads guilty to possessing indecent images of children, in a separate trial.

December 2018: restriction on reporting of Carl Beech’s real identity lifted.

May 2019: Beech goes on trial for perverting the course of justice.

Beech’s claims led to raids on the homes of prominent and elderly people including former army chief, D-Day veteran Lord Brammall, whose wife of 64 years died during the investigation, before his named was cleared. 

Beech’s extraordinary unfounded accusations were levelled against a list of prominent men including:

  • Former PM Sir Edward Heath: he said he was sexually abused at Heath’s home in London and on his yacht
  • Former head of the army Lord Brammall: he said Brammall repeatedly raped him and was present at the first meeting of ‘the group’
  • Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor: he said Proctor demanded oral sex, abused him with a pen knife, and murdered two children, one after tying him to a table, raping, and stabbing him
  • Former head of MI5 Michael Hanley, and former head of MI6 Maurice Oldfield: said to be responsible for abuse and torture including spiders being tipped over him, electric shocks, and having darts thrown at him, culminating in threats ‘to make him disappear’
  • His step-father, Major Ray Beech: he said his step-father frequently and repeatedly abused, raped, and beat him, the first time in a public toilet at a wildlife park 
  • Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan: He said Brittan murdered a child, describing him as a ‘mini-Harvey’ who was sadistic and enjoyed putting his head under water

In all, Beech accused 12 men: Major Ray Beech, his step-father; Lt General Beach; General Gibbs; Lord Brammall; Jimmy Savile; Peter Hayman;  Harvey Proctor; Leon Brittan; Greville Janner; Edward Heath; Michael Hanley; Maurice Oldfield.

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said the 12-week trial would show Beech’s accusations against the men were ‘demonstrably untrue.’

The Metropolitan Police’s disastrous £2 million Operation Midland investigation into Beech’s unsubstantiated and unsupported claims collapsed in 2016 with no arrests, despite a senior detective saying Nick’s stories were ‘credible and true’.

The Met has since paid six-figure sums in compensation to distinguished former Field Marshall Lord Brammall and to Lady Brittan whose late husband Leon was also accused by Beech.

The Met Police spent 18 months and £2m on Beech's claims of a Westminster paedophile ring

The Met Police spent 18 months and £2m on Beech’s claims of a Westminster paedophile ring

The Met is yet to agree any compensation deal with former Tory MP, Harvey Proctor, 70, who was falsely accused of rape and murder and lost his home and his job as a result.

It is thought Mr Proctor, who received a personal apology from the then Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, is seeking more than £500,000 for loss of earnings and damage to his reputation.

Leon Brittan and another accused, Greville Janner, both died within a year in 2015, the year following these allegations.

Dorothy Brammall, who was married to Edwin Brammall for 64 years, died during the course of the investigation and before Lord Brammall’s name was cleared.

During the probe, teams of more than 20 officers mounted dawn raids on the homes of some of the suspects, many of them now old and in poor health.

Last year a review of the flawed investigation, conducted by retired High Court judge, Sir Richard Henriques, said the police had acted as if they were ‘looking for bodies or bodies parts’, when carrying out the searches. 

The 13 charges facing Carl Beech

Beech denies 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud. The charges allege he:

  • Made a false allegation of witnessing the child homicide of an unnamed boy committed by Harvey Proctor
  • Made a false allegation of witnessing the homicide of a boy called Scott
  • Made a false allegation of witnessing the homicide of another boy
  • Falsely alleged that he had been sexually and physically abused by a paedophile ring, with senior military officers, military intelligence, a TV presenter and other unidentified men accused as members
  • Falsely alleged that he had been sexually and physically abused by a paedophile ring, with politicians accused as members
  • Provided a list of sexual abusers and locations falsely alleging he had been physically and sexually abused by said abusers at said locations
  • Provided sketches of locations at which he claimed he had been abused, falsely claiming he had produced them from memory
  • Provided the name Aubrey, falsely alleging Aubrey had been present and subjected to physical and sexual abuse when with him
  • Provided a pen knife and two military epaulettes falsely alleging he had retained them from when he was abused as a child
  • Falsely claimed that he had been seriously injured by sexual and physical abuse inflicted as a child
  • Falsified a ‘Proton’ email account, and provided false information purportedly sent from ‘Fred’, an individual he had claimed was present when he was abused 
  • Went together with investigators on site visits and falsely alleged that it was at locations identified by him during those visits that he had been subjected to physical and sexual abuse by a paedophile ring
  • Falsely claimed £22,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority saying he was subjected to abuse by a paedophile ring, knowing this to be untrue and intending to make a gain for himself

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