Sex abuse barrister warned Scotland Yard that ‘Nick the fantasist’s’ VIP paedophile ring claims were ‘so obviously bogus’ in 2015
- Barrister Ben Emmerson QC said he interviewed fantasist Carl Beech in 2015
- He claims to have told police that year not to believe rape and torture claims
- Claimed he was ‘extremely sceptical’ about allegations ‘from the very outset’
- Mr Emmerson was lead counsel to Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
Ben Emmerson QC, who led the child sex abuse inquiry, is pictured in January 2016
The barrister leading the Government’s child sex abuse inquiry has claimed he warned Scotland Yard of the ‘bogus’ allegations over a Westminster VIP paedophile ring months before officers shut down the investigation.
Ben Emmerson QC, lead counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, said he interviewed Carl Beech in 2015 and claims to have told senior police on September 30 that year not to believe his claims of rape and torture.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Emmerson said: ‘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 to understand why the Metropolitan Police had publicly described them as ‘credible’ when they appeared at face value to be so obviously bogus.’
Carl Beech is now serving an 18-year jail term for fabricating a series of claims of rape, torture and murder. He is pictured in a mugshot (left) and being interviewed in January 2016 (right)
Beech is serving an 18-year jail term for fabricating claims of torture, murder and rape by innocent, well-known names from the military, security services and politics.
Mr Emmerson’s comments came before the force published more of a report into the probe, which said warrants to raid the homes of suspects were ‘obtained unlawfully’.
Former High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques said the main cause of the botched probe was ‘poor judgment and a failure to accurately evaluate known facts’.
The 16-month Operation Midland ended in 2016 without an arrest, and the report found a ‘major contributing factor was the culture that ‘victims’ must be believed’.
Homes of D-Day veteran Lord Bramall; Lady Diana Brittan, the widow of former home secretary Leon Brittan; and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor were all raided.
Met ‘helped sex abuse fantasist claim £22,000 compensation’
Scotland Yard helped fantasist Carl Beech to claim £22,000 in compensation while investigating his false claims of sexual abuse, according to a report.
Sir Richard Henriques found an officer contacted the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to enquire about the application.
Beech, previously known as ‘Nick’, was awarded £22,000 in April 2015, which he used to put down a deposit on a Ford Mustang. He was later convicted of fraud.
The review into the Metropolitan Police’s disastrous Operation Midland investigation criticised the force for its role in helping him to make the claim.
‘Assisting a claimant to recover compensation before an investigation is complete is an act which pre-judges the outcome of the investigation and should not have happened,’ the report said.
‘The fact of having assisted ‘Nick’ to claim compensation rendered it more difficult to discontinue this investigation.’
The Met said the force did not assist Nick with his claim but admitted an officer emailed CICA about it.
Sir Richard said it was ‘an agreement to assist ‘Nick’ to recover compensation at a time when Midland officers were engaged in deciding whether or not he was a victim of crime’.
The review concluded the search warrants were ‘obtained unlawfully’ and that the magistrate who granted them was ‘misled’.
‘The written applications stated that ‘Nick’s’ account had remained consistent and he is felt to be a credible witness who is telling the truth,’ it said.
”Nick’s’ account had not been consistent throughout. Further, there were, in my judgment no reasonable grounds to believe ‘Nick’ and the statement that he had told the truth was not consistent with information then available.’
More findings of the highly critical review of Operation Midland, which has to date cost the Metropolitan Police around £4.5million, were published by the force today after mounting pressure to be open and transparent.
Sir Richard identified 43 police failings in his report, which said: ‘Whilst the responsible officers assert that they kept an open mind, several failures can only be explained by an unwarranted and disproportionate belief in ‘Nick’s’ credibility.
‘The most significant error in this investigation was the decision to apply for search warrants coupled with formulating inaccurate statements which were placed before the district judge.
‘But for that decision, this investigation may well have been completed without the dreadful adverse consequences I have described.’
Among a string of recommendations for the force, Sir Richard said suspects should have their anonymity protected by law, victims should be asked to sign confidentiality agreements in cases involving ‘prominent people’ and the policy that a complainant’s account ‘must be believed’ should end.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve House (pictured outside New Scotland Yard in London today) was questioned about Mr Watson’s role in pressuring police
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson was found to have added to the pressure on investigating officers, who were ‘fearful of media criticism and public cynicism,’ according to the report.
A review of Operation Vincente – the investigation into an allegation that Lord Brittan had raped a 19-year-old woman in 1967 – said officers may have been ‘in a state of panic’ over a letter sent by the MP on House of Commons notepaper.
‘There can be no doubt that Tom Watson believed ‘Nick’ and it should be stated that he had previously provided the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) with information leading to convictions in other cases,’ Sir Richard said.
‘His interest, however, in both Operation Midland and Operation Vincente created further pressure upon MPS officers.’
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