Carl Beech, 51, alleged powerful men including MPs and generals sexually abused and killed children in the 1970s
A ‘fantasist’, whose allegations of a Westminster ring of paedophilia and child murder sparked a massive police investigation, fled to Sweden and had to be extradited to face trial for perverting the course of justice, a court has heard.
Under the pseudonym ‘Nick’, Carl Beech, 51, made heinous accusations against prominent men including a former Prime Minister, a former Army chief, and head of MI5 and MI6.
An 18-month, £2million Met Police investigation into the men was wound up with no arrests.
A separate investigation by Northamptonshire Police then quickly unravelled Beech’s allegations, Newcastle Crown Court heard today.
Beech’s claims were ‘totally unfounded, hopelessly compromised, and irredeemably contradicted by other testimony’, the jury were told.
And they were shown video of Beech crying in a police interview as he alleged he had been ‘covered in blood’ in 1979 when a childhood friend was killed by a car on instructions from Beech’s abusers. Police found no evidence any such child ever existed.
Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC told the jury: ‘These are false allegations including; three child murders, multiple rapes, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and widespread sexual abuse.
‘All concerning young boys. It is quite impossible to conceive of allegations of a worse kind to be made.’
The 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 claimed in 2014 that he had been raped and abused for nine years in the 1970s by a VIP gang he called ‘the Group’ which included senior members of Parliament, the military, and the media.
He said abuse had taken place at the London home, and on the yacht, of former Prime Minister Edward Heath, and that he had held the hand of a dying young boy, murdered in front of him by former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.
The claims made in 20 hours of police interviews caused ‘shattering repercussions’ for men who had held some of the highest offices in the land.
The jury heard that after police suspicion fell on him, Beech fled the country and lived overseas as a fugitive, before being tracked down in Sweden and arrested on a European arrest warrant.
Field Marshall Lord Brammal, pictured with his wife of 64 years Dorothy, who died before his name was cleared
He made extraordinary unfounded accusations 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
As well as Heath’s home and yacht, Beech claimed the venues for the abuse included Dolphin Square and the Carlton Club in London, Stowe School, London Zoo, and military bases including Imber, St David’s Barracks, Erskine Barracks which at the time was the HQ of the British Land Forces,
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. He flees to Sweden and is later extradited back to the UK.
2018: A highly critical review of Operation Midland reports police ‘acted like they were searching for bodies’ during raids on homes.
December 2018: restriction on reporting of Carl Beech’s real identity lifted.
May 2019: Beech goes on trial for perverting the course of justice.
He accused 12 men: Major Ray Beech, Carl Beech’s 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.
Mr Badenoch said the 12-week trial would show Beech’s accusations against the men were ‘demonstrably untrue.’
He said: ‘In his forties, Carl Beech claimed that when he was a young schoolboy he had witnessed no less than three child killings, and was subjected to rape, torture, and sexual abuse by literally dozens of powerful men, in politics, the armed forces, intelligence services and in showbusiness, at locations ranging four counties, the coast, and all over London.
‘He had been taken out of school once a week for this to occur. That is an extraordinary claim – and it is also untrue.’
Beech, as a complainant of sexual abuse, was granted anonymity and it was under the pseudonym of ‘Nick’ that his allegations were reported.
His allegations were described by a Metropolitan Police Officer at the time as ‘credible and true’. Mr Badenoch said that when those words were uttered, the officer didn’t have the advantage of the enquiries that followed.
Operation Midland, into Beech’s allegations was set up as a major incident room in November 2014 and estimated costs ran to £2m.
Mr Badenoch said: ‘These false allegations led to police enquiries being made of living men, amongst them Lord Brittan, Lord Bramall and Mr Harvey Proctor.
‘Immeasurable distress was caused to them personally and those close to them, and obvious reputational damage.
‘One man – Lord Brittan – had his homes searched by the police and died with these allegations made by Carl Beech still a live enquiry. Police have since apologised to his widow.
The jury were shown pictures of Carl Beech aged around 10 in his final year of primary school when he claimed the abuse began
One of ‘Nick’s false stories’
Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC detailed one of the allegations made by Beech to the jury.
He said: ‘Mr Beech told the Metropolitan Police that he had witnessed the murder of a young school boy called Scott, murdered at the hands of ‘the group’ of sexual abusers.
‘He had been warned not to be friends with Scott. A warning which he failed to heed leading to his friend Scott being run over and killed in front of him.
‘Carl Beech was saying that when he was a young schoolboy he had witnessed the murder of a school-friend who had been deliberately run over and killed – for the crime of being his friend, when the ‘group’ allowed him none.
‘The child was a boy at his own school. It was a secret he had carried throughout his life out of fear of speaking out. Nobody knew about this. Only him. ‘
Mr Badenoch said the Metropolitan Police carried out enquiries and ascertained that Carl Beech was never at school with a missing boy called Scott.
He said: ‘There was no missing boy. Teachers and school friends from his time at school confirmed that over and over. A complete fabrication and falsehood.
‘It is one example from a very long list.’
D-Day veteran, former head of the army Lord Bramall was in his nineties when he was interviewed by the Metropolitan Police and his home searched by 20 officers for 10 hours.
In April 2015 he told police he was astonished and amazed at what was being said about him, and took the officers through his various army postings at the time.
Mr Badenoch said: ‘He confirmed that he had been married for sixty-four years to his wife who was his only sexual interest.
‘His wife died whilst the file was still open. No further action was, ultimately, taken against him.’
Harvey Proctor, former Tory MP for Billericay in Essex had his homes searched by 15 police for 27 hours as a consequence of Beech’s allegations.
He was interviewed under caution for six hours in June 2015, and ‘completely denied all that was said about him in the most strident terms.’
The barrister said Proctor’s interviews would be played to the jury and ‘will enable a proper assessment of the first reaction of the accused child murderer, to examine his response when shown the weapon he is supposed to have given Carl Beech around thirty years ago at the time of threatening to cut his genitals.’
He said ‘entirely innocent’ Proctor, who has since held a press conference to declare his innocence and received an apology from the Met Police, is ‘still enraged’ at having been labelled ‘a sadistic abuser of young boys and a murderer’.
As the only former MP accused by Beech still alive, Mr Badenoch said, Proctor ‘is the only person from that group who can speak about these allegations and he will do so.’
Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor was accused of rape and murder by Beech. The court heard he is still ‘enraged’ by the accusations
Beech also claimed boys were murdered by ‘The Group’, the jury heard, including one child killed by Harvey Proctor in front of him.
He said Proctor and another man tied the boy to a table, raped him, and stabbed him.
Beech said he held the boy’s hand and begged him to wake up but he didn’t. Harvey and the other men just laughed and told him that he was next, he claimed, later naming the boy as Martin Allen, a child missing since 1979.
Proctor, along with Michael Hanley (former head of MI5), Leon Brittan (former home secretary), and an unnamed fourth man, was also alleged to have murdered another boy, after asking a group of abused boys to elect which one of them should die.
One of the other boys was an unnamed corroborative witness, whom police called ‘Fred’.
Beech claimed the abuse started when he was seven and stopped around his 16th birthday. He said he would be collected from school by an unspeaking driver, and taken to ‘parties’ where there would be seven or eight boys and as many 10, 15, or more men.
Beech told police that he wanted a jury to decide whether Harvey Proctor is ‘a sadistic child murderer and abuser.’
But the Northumbria Police investigation in 2016 found Beech’s allegations to be ‘totally unfounded, hopelessly compromised, and irredeemably contradicted by other testimony.’
Mr Badenoch said: Carl Beech knew all of that of course and ultimately he pursued his only real option as this enquiry moved to the charging phase. He absconded and sought to set up life in a different country living as a fugitive.’
Court sketch of Carl Beech, known as Nick, at Newcastle Crown Court last week before the jury was sworn in today
Beech, 51, arrived at Newcastle Crown Court in a prison van. He fled to Sweden and was extradited to face trial
‘Gave false hope’
When Carl Beech told police he had witnessed child murders in the 1970s, he gave false hope to the family of a 15-year-old boy who went missing in 1979, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
Tony Badenoch QC, prosecuting, said the boy’s disappearance was the worst event in the life of Martin Allen’s family, and that his brother Kevin had never given up hope of finding out what happened to him.
In 2014, Kevin Allen was told by the Metropolitan Police that his disappearance ‘may have been linked to a very nasty paedophile ring’.
He added: ‘The source of that false hope to Kevin Allen, 35 years after his brother went missing, was ultimately the false allegations of this defendant, Carl Beech.
‘We will show you what Carl Beech was saying at the time, what he was saying to the Metropolitan Police, and what his hopes and expectations were in respect of the Allen family.
‘That’s just an example of the broader impact of this case.
‘It went directly to those accused, who were still living, and it went further to those who were still looking further for answers 35 years after 1979.’
Carl Beech was notified on 21 March 2016 that no further action was to be taken in respect of the allegations he had made.
Mr Badenoch told the court Beech fled to Sweden after his home in Gloucester was raided by Northumbria Police, an outside force brought in by the Metropolitan Police to investigate Beech himself.
In 2016, the same year that no further action was taken in respect of Operation Midland, Beech had his life ‘turned upside down’ as he became the suspect.
Northumbria Police examined the recordings of his witness statements to the Met and Wiltshire forces.
On November 2 police raided his home, a three bedroom semi where he lived with his son, in the early morning. His £34,000 white Mustang convertible was parked on the drive.
Mr Badenoch said: ‘Beech took the only option available to him – he fled the country and lived overseas as a fugitive.
‘That was until a specialist fugitive unit in Sweden worked closely with Northumbria Police and the national crime agency to secure his arrest on a European arrest warrant executed overseas.
‘He was extradited to face these charges.’
In one allegation, Mr Badenoch said, Beech claimed a warning he failed to heed led to his friend Scott being run over and killed in front of him. But Beech was never at school with a missing boy called Scott.
The jury was shown Beech’s first police interview, in November 2014, in which he sat with his head bowed, his hands in his lap and his voice frequently breaking with emotion as he spoke of Scott.
In Beech’s first police interview, in November 2014, he sat with his head bowed, his hands in his lap and his voice frequently breaking with emotion as he spoke of Scott
The jury was shown Beech wiping away a tear speaking of the horrific ordeal – but police found no evidence ‘Scott’ ever existed
He wiped away tears as he told how his friend was mown down by a vehicle on the orders of ‘The Group.’
Beech spoke slowly and appeared in distress in the 31 minute video, as he claimed the boy had been killed in the summer of 1979 because he refused the group’s orders that he – Beech – could not have any friends.
He said Scott had freckles and dimples and short hair that was longer at the back, but could not remember his full name.
He said the death was never mentioned at their school and he could not remember at what time of day, or where, the collision occurred other than that the boys were walking towards Kingston upon Thames.
Beech told the officer: ‘I cannot remember if he was in my class or just the school, I cannot remember how it came about except that he wanted to be my friend.
‘He was not connected to The Group, he was just a normal boy who wanted to be my friend. He would try to talk to me and try to involve me in games.’
He appeared to be tearful as he said: ‘They wanted me not to be friends with him. I did not listen, I didn’t listen. They warned me several times but I was selfish, I wanted a friend.
‘I didn’t understand what the consequences might be so I didn’t do as I was told. I didn’t know how to be nasty to somebody, to stop them being my friend because I didn’t want to.’
He described a ‘loud, very loud’ car engine behind him, and seconds later, he said, Scott was hit and thrown into the air, landing on the road. A terrified Beech ran over to try to help him.
He told the officer: ‘There was so much blood, I was covered in blood.I felt my arms being grabbed and I was pulled into the back [of the car]’.
He said he did not remember whether anyone in the car said anything to him or how he got home, and when asked by the detective he said he had no recollection of Scott’s death ever being mentioned in school.
Asked: ‘Do you remember if the police were called or anything like that?’
He responded: ‘I don’t know, I don’t know who he was, I don’t know anything.’
The prosecutor told the jury: ‘There was no missing boy. Teachers and school-friends from his time at school confirmed that over and over. A complete fabrication and falsehood. It is one example from a very long list.’
He said the allegations when investigated led to the conclusion that they are in fact ‘incredible and untrue,’ contrary to the statement made earlier by the Met.
Field Marshal Lord Bramall (left) with Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham. Lord Brammall was ‘astonished’ by accusations by Beech
Northumbria Police steadily unpicked Carl Beech’s tales of abuse, the jury was told.
His allegations about being abused by Ted Heath aboard his yacht were shown to be lies, it is alleged.
Tony Badenoch said: ‘ Carl Beech gave the Metropolitan Police a description of the inside of Ted Heath’s yacht. This was again said to be a location for serious sexual abuse. This time by the ex-Prime Minister.
‘And so it was that Northumbria Police spoke to the yachtsmen who were responsible for the Prime Minister’s yachting activities. Their responses very much chimed with what so many others have said.
‘He was accompanied by security staff when he attended the yacht. As to his yachting skills, Ted Heath couldn’t sail it on his own.
‘They also provided details of the layouts, berths, and moorings for the various yachts. No cabins and double beds as described by Carl Beech. These were racing yachts with hammocks.’
Beech told police that he had been taken out of his schools in London at least once a week for a period of nine years, between the ages of seven and sixteen and that he was collected outside school by a driver to be taken to his abusers. Northumbria Police established with all three schools he attended that his attendance was very good, ranking an A. In some terms he won awards for 100% punctuality.
Carl Beech (pictured left and right) pleaded not guilty to 12 charges as he appeared via video link at Newcastle Crown Court in February
Investigators also spoke to those closest to the military generals accused by Beech.
He claimed his step-father introduced him to the Generals he accused, though police discovered that Major Ray Beech would not have been of high enough rank to mix with those in such high ranks.
Capt Steven Bamber, who looked after Lord Bramall’s diary told officers that as head of the British Army Lord Bramall could not have been part of ‘The Group’ as alleged.
Mr Badenock said: ‘ It was at the height of the Northern Ireland troubles. General Bramall would have been a target and lived in barbed wire surroundings under armed guard… ‘There was simply no possibility of any individual bringing onto army office premises a young boy called Carl Beech for sadistic sexual abuse.’
Mr Badenoch said Beech produced sketches of the places he was abused for police and said they were’ done from memory.’
But on his computer imagery and photographs of the locations were found, which he had used to produce the drawings. One of his pictures of the Carlton Club in London, where he claimed to have been abused by Harvey Proctor amongst others, even had the exact number of front steps as the real building.
The jury were shown other sketches by Beech showing shadowy ‘demons’ with long talons subjecting what appear to be children to bloody tortures. One picture was captioned with the words: ‘please, no more.’
The Met Police spent 18 months and £2.5million investigating Beech’s claims of a Westminster paedophile ring
The Metropolitan Police’s disastrous Operation Midland investigation into his 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 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.
The Metropolitan Police launched a major inquiry into Beech’s allegations of child rape and serial murder.
Among those he named were Lord Bramall, a D-Day veteran and former head of the Armed Forces, Lord Brittan, the former Home Secretary and Sir Edward Heath, the late former Prime Minister.
Lawyers for the prosecution – Tony Badenoch QC, left – and defence – Collingwood Thompson QC, right – arriving at Newcastle Crown Court
Despite a lack of evidence to support the extraordinary allegations, Scotland Yard launched and 18-month investigation, which cost in excess of £2.5 million.
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.
Beech is now on trial for seeking to pervert the course of justice and to enrich himself while doing so.
He was known simply as ‘Nick’ before his identity was revealed during his first court appearance in December after a judge lifted a reporting restriction.
The fraud charge alleges that he falsely claimed £22,000 in criminal injuries compensation by saying ‘he was subjected to abuse by a paedophile ring, knowing this to be untrue and intending thereby to make a gain for himself’.
In February sporting a thick greying beard Beech, flanked by his solicitor, spoke only to confirm his identify and to enter his not guilty pleas before the Recorder of Newcastle, Judge Paul Sloan QC via video link.
Charges facing Carl Beech, the man identified for years only as ‘Nick’
Beech, then known only as ‘Nick’, was charged in November of last year at Newcastle Crown Court, with perverting the course of justice and fraud.
Charges against him allege that he:
‘Nick’, 50, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court accused of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud (stock image)
- Made a false allegation of witnessing the child homicide of an unnamed boy committed by Harvey Proctor
- Made a false allegation of witnessing the child homicide of a boy called Scott
- Made a false allegation of witnessing the child homicide of another unnamed boy
- Falsely alleged that he had been sexually and physically abused by a paedophile ring, with senior ranking officers within the military, 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, a TV presenter, and other unidentified men accused as members
- Provided a list of sexual abusers and locations falsely alleging that he had been subjected to physical and sexual abuse by the said sexual abusers at the said locations
- Provided sketches of locations at which he claimed he had been physically and sexually abused, falsely claiming that he had produced them from memory
- Provided and repeated the name of Aubrey, falsely alleging that Aubrey had been present and subjected to physical and sexual abuse when with him
- Provided a pen knife and two military epaulettes falsely alleging that he had retained them from when he was abused as a child
- Falsely claimed that he had suffered serious injuries as a result of having been sexually and physically abused as a child
- Falsified a ‘Proton’ email account, and provided false information purportedly sent from ‘Fred’, an individual who he had named as present when he was abused by a paedophile ring
- 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
The fraud charge stated that he falsely claimed £22,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority by saying ‘he was subjected to abuse by a paedophile ring, knowing this to be untrue and intending thereby to make a gain for himself’